CCC Statement: Regarding the Elimination of Finger Imaging
Released October 12, 2011
CCC strongly supports the elimination of the finger-imaging requirement for SNAP (Food Stamp) applicants. This application requirement, which does not exist in any other New York State local district besides New York City, deters potential eligible applicants from applying for SNAP benefits, and, to date, has led to the identification of negligible levels of fraud. Moreover, the City expends its own resources in its efforts to find this minimal fraud, and the resulting savings are only to federal funds. On top of the administrative costs borne of this practice, the City also suffers an indirect, but severe, economic loss, as eligible New Yorkers do not apply for Food Stamps, which results in an estimated $54.4 million loss of federal Food Stamp benefits that would be spent in local markets and businesses. Indeed, the USDA has repeatedly recognized this procedure’s chilling effect on SNAP applications and its inefficacy and unnecessary cost. Well over a million New Yorkers suffer from severe food insecurity, and cannot afford a practice that prevents them from accessing needed food supports. The time is now for New York City to join the rest of the country – including, most recently, the states of California and Texas – and eliminate finger imaging for Food Stamp applicants.