Lawmaking that listens to the little guy: That’s what we elect our representatives to do in Albany. Right?
But in this polarized climate of partisan politics, passing laws that matter is not a given. So it’s always nice to hear about a law or two that does.
On November 25, Governor Cuomo signed into law Senate Bill S6443/A6753– sponsored by State Sen. Roxanne Persaud and Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein– which exempts income earned by persons under the age of 24 from certain workforce development programs from the determination of need for public assistance programs.
In plain English, earned income from summer youth employment program participants up to the age of 24 will be excluded from the calculation of their family’s income for public assistance, effective immediately.
New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is the nation’s largest youth employment program, connecting NYC youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with career exploration opportunities and paid work experience each summer.
In its 23-year history, SYEP has provided job opportunities for over 75,000 teens and young adults– many poor and underserved. For these youths, the program has been a key opportunity to explore their interests and career pathways, develop workplace skills and engage in learning experiences that help in developing their social, civic and leadership skills.
But, silently, the program had a downside: the income the youth earned was figured into the family’s public assistance allowance. So then what was supposed to serve as an economic leg up for the youth, resulted in reductions that penalized the household.
“It doesn’t make sense that temporary income earned by Summer Youth Employment Program participants could ultimately disqualify their household from needed benefits,” said Sen. Persaud, who represents the 19th District in Brooklyn, which includes portions of Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Ocean Hill.
Sen. Persaud also is chair of the Senate Social Services Committee.
“Struggling families need all the help available to them,” said Sen. Persaud. “I was proud to join Assemblymember Eichenstein in sponsoring this bill in the Legislature, and thank the Governor for signing this into law.”