New York rule change makes thousands of migrants eligible for cash payments

The state of New York has been giving cash payments to thousands of migrants who typically would not qualify for the state’s welfare program.

Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration quietly changed the state’s “Safety Net Assistance” program eligibility rules in May to allow non-citizens who have pending applications for asylum to receive benefits, making thousands of migrants eligible for the payments, according to a report from the New York Post and confirmed by Fox News Digital.


Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, an OTDA spokesperson said just a “small portion” of the $4.3 billion the governor set aside for the migrant crisis has been used for the payments, estimating that about 90% of the current migrant population in the state would not be eligible for the benefits under the new rules.

“At the request of New York City, OTDA made a technical update to allow a small percentage of migrants to receive certain additional support in compliance with state and federal law,” the spokesperson said.

But the report notes that over 173,000 migrants have made their way to New York City alone since 2022, meaning that if 10% of them were receiving payments it would amount to about 17,000 recipients in the city alone.

Migrants only qualify for the payments if they completed their paperwork to apply for asylum status and can only use the checks, which total hundreds of dollars per month, to pay for rent, utilities, clothing or other necessities, according to the report.

Michael Kracker, the chairman of the Eire County Republican Committee, told Fox News Digital the payments are “deeply offensive to hard-working New Yorkers, many who are struggling.”

Kracker pointed out that some of those who are struggling are homeless veterans, who, he argued, “are looking for help from their state.”


The revelations of the payments were slammed by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., who argued they served as “another way to attract migrants” to New York while lower- and middle-class natives of the city struggle to make ends meet.

“You have people from all over the world coming to New York to take advantage of all these left-wing programs the governor, the mayor are implementing, while at the same time, they’re clobbering taxpayers over the head,” Malliotakis told the New York Post.

The policy was also criticized by Democratic City Councilman Robert Holden, who said the “endless handouts to the entire world are a slap in the face to every citizen who has contributed to and sacrificed for this country.”

Lora Ries, the director of the Border Security and Immigration Center at The Heritage Foundation, echoed a similar sentiment, telling Fox News Digital that New York leaders “should be choosing U.S. citizens every time over illegal aliens when it comes to distributing limited resources.”


But the OTDA said that only people in the country legally would be eligible for benefits.

“To be clear: no one here illegally is eligible for these benefits,” the spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

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