Migrants Get Cash Welfare After Quiet Rule Change

As a result of a regulation change that permits non-citizens to obtain welfare benefits, the Democratically controlled state of New York has begun giving cash to a large number of migrants.

In 2023, the terms of the Safety Net Assistance (SNA) program were amended by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) under Gov. Kathy Hochul. This amendment allows migrants who have submitted asylum applications to be eligible for additional public money.

On May 12, 2023, the Hochul administration sent an internal message to all New York welfare office workers. The memo revised the specifications for SNA, expanding its scope to include non-citizens considered permanently residing under color of law (PRUCOL). OTDA uses PRUCOL as a public benefit category to determine SNA eligibility; it is not an immigration status.

Reportedly, thousands of migrants who do not usually qualify for aid receive cash payouts from the Hochul government. Despite projections that 90% of New York’s present migrant population would not get extra benefits under the regulation change, the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) chose not to provide the exact number of migrants who have received SNA checks.

New York City has welcomed more than 173,000 migrants since spring 2022. More than 17,000 people may receive SNA benefits in New York City if only 10% of the population is qualified.

Financial support is available via SNA to low-income New Yorkers who do not qualify for other forms of state assistance, including those who are single, in a partnership without children, or coping with a family member’s drug misuse problem. Skeptics point out that expenses, such as those for SNA payments, will increase with the migrant population.

By June of 2026, Mayor Adams predicted that New York City would have spent $10.6 billion dealing with the influx of migrants. Last week, Adams urged Governor Hochul to provide an extra $1.6 billion for migrant assistance, highlighting that most of New York State’s migrant residents live in the city.

An estimated 10% of New York’s migrant population will be eligible for or has already received the additional financial advantages provided by SNA.