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Important Notice for Individuals with Disabilities Who Are Applying for or Trying to Keep Public Benefits in Suffolk County

Posted on August 10th, 2022

Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement Regarding Disability Accommodations at the Suffolk County Department of Social Services.

Attorneys from the Empire Justice Center, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) and Dentons LLP obtained class certification and a settlement in a Federal Court class action case called Newkirk v. Pierre, 19-cv-4283 (E.D.N.Y.). Plaintiffs in this lawsuit are individuals with disabilities who need help applying for or trying to keep public benefits through programs run by the Suffolk County Department of Social Services (SCDSS).

This is an important notice about accessing Public Benefits and a proposed Settlement in a Federal Court class action case. Please read the entire notice provided in the links below if:

  1. You are an individual with a disability living in Suffolk County, New York; AND
  2. You have applied for or will apply for benefits and services from SCDSS, including SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, Temporary Assistance, and Temporary Housing Assistance (THA); AND
  3. Because of your disability, you need help applying for or keeping those benefits and services.


Audio Recording of Notice


Members of the Plaintiff Class who are deaf or hard of hearing and require interpreter services to participate in the Fairness Hearing with the Court on September 6, 2022, should contact the National Center for Law and Economic Justice at info@nclej.org, or (212) 633-6967, in advance of the hearing.

Press Release Announcement


Aviso Importante para Personas con Discapacidades que Solicitan o Intentan Mantener Beneficios Públicos en el Condado de Suffolk

Posted on August 10th, 2022

Aviso de propuesta de acuerdo de demanda colectiva sobre Adaptaciones para Personas con Discapacidad en el Departamento de Servicios Sociales del Condado de Suffolk

Los abogados del Empire Justice Center, el  National Center for Law and Economic Justice (Centro Nacional para la Ley y la Justicia Económica) y Dentons LLP obtuvieron la certificación colectiva y un acuerdo en un caso de demanda colectiva del Tribunal Federal llamado Newkirk v. Pierre, 19-cv-4283 (E.D.N.Y.). Los demandantes en esta demanda son personas con discapacidades que necesitan ayuda para solicitar o tratar de mantener los beneficios públicos a través de programas administrados por el Departamento de Servicios Sociales del Condado de Suffolk (SCDSS).


Lea el aviso completo proporcionado en el siguiente enlace si:

  1. Usted es una persona con una discapacidad que vive en el condado de Suffolk, Nueva York;
  2. Ha solicitado o solicitará beneficios y servicios de SCDSS, que incluyen SNAP (cupones de alimentos), Medicaid, Asistencia Temporal y Asistencia de Vivienda Temporal (THA); Y
  3. Debido a su discapacidad, necesita ayuda para solicitar o mantener esos beneficios y servicios.



Los miembros de la Clase de Demandantes que son sordos o tienen problemas de audición y requieren servicios de interpretación para participar en la Audiencia de Equidad con el Tribunal el 6 de Septiembre de 2022, deben comunicarse con el National Center for Law and Economic Justice (Centro Nacional para la Ley y la Justicia Económica) en info@nclej.org , o ( 212) 633-6967, antes de la audiencia.

Press Release Announcement

STATEMENT: 2022 NYS Budget

Posted on April 11th, 2022

2022 New York State Budget:

Good Budget for Many Programs Benefitting Low-Income New Yorkers; Must Do More for Immigrants

“This year’s budget process was demonstrably different than the previous fifteen, resulting in a number of key investments. I appreciate the Governor proactively including programs benefitting low-income New Yorkers, and the legislature’s steadfast support. In some issue areas where we saw progress, Empire Justice Center attorneys and staff have worked on them for a close to a decade. Increased funding for disability appeals advocacy, eviction and foreclosure prevention, and consumer health advocacy will meaningfully help more people receive the right kind of services they need. Going forward, we must focus on raising the cash grant for public benefits recipients, overhauling unfair unemployment overpayment rules, and be inclusive of all immigrant New Yorkers. I also want to extend my gratitude to Assembly Health Chair Dick Gottfried as he serves his last term this year. It was my privilege to have worked with one of the most devoted and knowledgeable legislators to advance so many important services for client communities across New York State,” said Kristin Brown, President and CEO of Empire Justice Center.

Full Statement here: STATEMENT: 2022 NYS Budget – Empire Justice Center

Empire Justice Center logo on a red background

PRESS RELEASE: $2 million in Federal and State Tax Returns claimed by Rochester residents through the CASH program

Posted on February 16th, 2022

For Immediate Release: February 16, 2022

Contact: Lacie White, CASH Marketing Communications Manager, lwhite@empirejustice.org


$2 million in Federal and State Tax Returns

claimed by Rochester residents through the CASH program

Free tax-prep service available for low-income Rochester residents



Rochester, NY– Since opening on January 24th, families in the Rochester community have claimed over $2 million in Federal and State Tax Refunds through the CASH program. CASH is open for in-person and virtual tax preparation services with the help of over 80 volunteers, interns, and staff members who have contributed over 2000 hours and prepared over 500 returns in the first three weeks of opening.


“Just three weeks into the tax season it has been remarkable to watch our staff and volunteers work alongside our clients to connect them to the tax credits they have earned while saving them over $175,000 in processing fees,” said CASH Director, Yversha Roman. “As we know, every dollar back into the hands of our families equates to more secure housing, food on the table, and overall financial health.”


CASH (Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope) is a community coalition led by the Empire Justice Center.  CASH partners with over 40 organizations, including United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes, to offer free high-quality tax return preparation services that make tax filing easy to do and understand. These services ensure that Monroe County residents collect all the tax credits for which they are eligible, including the Advanced Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. In addition to providing year-round tax advice and preparation, CASH connects clients to community partners with resources that can improve their financial well-being. These services include savings programs, health care, financial literacy, public benefits, and job counseling.


“We are proud to be able to support CASH and help directly combat some of the challenges of poverty we face as a region,” said Jaime Saunders, President, and CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes. “Thank you to the hundreds of dedicated volunteers working at the C.A.S.H. sites, and to our donors who help to make these tax preparation and financial security programs possible, so working families get the money they deserve in tax returns and Earned Income Tax Credits.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, CASH is accommodating clients by appointment only. To schedule an appointment call 585-900-1004 or visit https://cashtaxprep2021.as.me/TaxPrep. Visit the website at https://empirejustice.org/cash/  for more information on available services and to learn more about how to volunteer with CASH.






Empire Justice Center is a statewide, multi-issue, multi-strategy, public interest law firm focused on changing the “systems” within which poor and low-income families live. Empire Justice protects and strengthens the legal rights of people in New York State who are poor, disabled, or disenfranchised through systems change advocacy, training, and support to other advocates and organizations, and high-quality direct civil legal representation. Learn more about CASH at empirejustice.org/cash. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter






Taxes sign surrounded by cash dollar amounts