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The New York State Office for Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has rescinded a controversial policy change that would have cut cash benefits for people transitioning from the federal welfare program to the state one, called Safety Net Assistance. Although families whose federal benefits expired would have had uninterrupted access to child care, food stamps and Medicaid, they would have been forced to wait 45 days before enrolling in Safety Net and collecting vital cash assistance [see “Welfare Withheld”]. OTDA Commissioner Robert Doar said that public feedback was a crucial factor in the agency’s decision to forego the new proposal. “We got a number of comments, both for and against it, and listened to people in the field,” he said. Jillynn Stevens, director of policy, advocacy, and research at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, said she was encouraged by the victory. The delay “would have had devastating consequences for thousands of families,” she said. “Advocates must take this success as an indication of what we can accomplish.” (M. Risley) [1/23/06]

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