Be Healthy! Wednesdays: Cuomo Calls for End to Food Stamp Fingerprints, Free Caregiver Resource Guide & More
January 11, 2012 at 4:54 PM
By Jeanmarie Evelly
Gov. Cuomo Calls to End Fingerprinting for Food Stamps
Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his annual State of the State address early this month, and one item on his agenda has food and hunger advocates cheering. While addressing his plans to eliminate child hunger in New York, the governor called to end the controversial practice of fingerprinting food stamp applicants in New York City.
“I’m saying stop fingerprinting for families with children for food. Stop it all across the state, and let’s stop it this year,” Cuomo said, echoing the concerns of hunger advocates who say the requirement further stigmatizes the food stamp program and discourages New Yorkers in need from accessing the benefits. New York City is one of only two places in the country — the other is Arizona — that requires food stamp recipients to get fingerprinted before receiving benefits. Mayor Bloomberg has defended the practice as a necessary protection against fraud.
But advocates and local officials have criticized the requirement as unnecessary and time-consuming.
“Mountains of evidence prove that the practice keeps nutrition benefits away from eligible families, costs the state millions of dollars and, even when working properly, finds only duplication that can be detected through less costly, less intrusive methods,” said Joel Berg, of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
Free Resource Book for Family Caregivers
A new resource guide for Bronx residents caring for an aging parent, spouse, partner, child with an illness or disability, or someone else close to them is now available from Montefiore Medical Center’s Office of Community Health and the Montefiore Caregiver Support Program. “Caring for Yourself While Caregiving: A Bronx Resource Guide” provides 32 pages of helpful, low-cost and easily accessible resources, with information on support groups, lowering stress, staying healthy, seeking spiritual support and expanding your creativity/social life.
“Caring for a loved one can be a wonderful experience of giving, sharing and receiving, yet it is common for caregivers to neglect their own emotional and physical needs,” said Ronit Fallek, director of the Healing Arts Program at Montefiore. “The reality is, we are better caregivers when we are also taking care of ourselves.”
The guide is available free of charge, in both English and Spanish, by calling (718) 920-6576, or by emailing PCareSupport@montefiore.org. You can also download a PDF version by clicking here (for English) or here (for Spanish).
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