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Rochester, N.Y. -- It is not a mistake.
If you are one of the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who suddenly noticed additional funds on your SNAP benefits card, it is not a mistake.
The unexpected payments are the result of a class action lawsuit settlement in which an estimated $80 million will be distributed to approximately 200,000 New Yorkers according to the Empire Justice Center.
Press Release from Empire Justice Center: http://www.empirejustice.org/assets/pdf/issue-areas/public-benefits/80-million-class-action.pdf
SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, assists those in need with money for food. Those eligible to receive this lump sum payment were subject to an employment sanction between August 2009 and December 2012. They were also not given a "second chance" to comply with the necessary rules before those sanctions were imposed.
"I had $4 left on my card so I went to Family Dollar to make a purchase and the purchase was over $4.25 so I figured the guy was going to say, well 25-cents (but) he didn't ask for it," explained John Derycke of Rochester. "Well something made me think twice so I walked out of the store looking at my receipt and when I looked at my receipt there was $400 extra dollars on my card and I walk home going, no?"
Derycke called the 800-number on his card and did some research of his own.
"If they're putting something on my card I want to make sure that it's mine I don't want to take something that doesn't belong to me because you know how fast they're going to take it away from you," explained Derycke. "So I was very happy and it came at the perfect timing for the holidays."
Monroe County provided 13WHAM News with a detailed breakdown of how many recipients in this region are due to split how much money. On average the payout is $550 to $600.
Genesee County 570 cases $371,107 Livingston County 159 cases $88,437 Monroe County 12,230 cases $6.734 million Ontario County 860 cases $510,875 Wayne County 279 cases $145,853 Wyoming County 510 cases $333,730
At some local stores a number of customers are realizing what Derycke found out on Saturday. At Nick�s Superstore on Monroe Avenue in Rochester the owners told 13WHAM News one customer unexpectedly notices a $2,000 increase in funds on their SNAP card; another realized a $7,000 increase.
Those receiving the extra funds have one year to spend it.
A memo from the state was supposed to go out to explain this process to recipients but nobody 13WHAM News spoke to recalls seeing such a letter in the mail. The lump sum payments are expected to appear in recipients accounts on or around November 18th.