Governor Cuomo Signs Assemblyman Eichenstein’s Summer Youth Employment Program Legislation into Law

New law will ease financial burden on New York families

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein's legislation exempting the income of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) from a family’s household income as it relates to public assistance. This legislation, now law, will eliminate the difficulties for young adults from low-income households that were unable to participate in SYEP, due to the risk of their household losing its public assistance.

"I am thrilled that more young people will now be able to take advantage of these hugely beneficial summer employment experiences," saidAssemblyman Simcha Eichenstein.

Last year, approximately 75,000 young adults in New York City alone gained valuable work during the summer months through SYEP. Locally, in Assemblyman Eichenstein’s district, over 12,500 youths were enrolled in SYEP last year, through two providers: National Society for Hebrew Day Schools and the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush. This new legislation means that families would now be able to continue receiving public assistance services they qualify for regardless of their children’s participation in SYEP.

Previously, income earned through SYEP could push a family above the income cut off for public assistance. This led many parents to restrict their children’s participation in SYEP. Now that there is a law exempting the income from SYEP from the calculation of household income as it relates to eligibility for public assistance, young adults can be free to participate in this valuable summer employment experience without fear that their family will lose their most vital government assistance.

"This bill will greatly improve the lives of young adults from low-income families and ensure equal access for all to participate in the Summer Youth Employment Program.” Assemblyman Eichenstein continued “I thank Governor Cuomo for signing my legislation into law, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senator Roxanne Persaud, the Senate sponsor of this legislation."

“Participating in a summer employment program provides valuable work experience and education for young people in our state,” said Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie. “However, gaining that experience shouldn’t come at the financial cost of their families. This bill ensures that the amount of needed public assistance families’ receive will not change based on their children participating in career-enhancing programs and I thank Assembly member Eichenstein for all his hard work.”

“Struggling families need all the help available to them,” saidSenator Roxanne J. Persaud, Chair of the Senate Social Services Committee. “It doesn’t make sense that income earned by Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) participants could ultimately disqualify their household from needed benefits. I was proud to join Assemblymember Eichenstein in sponsoring this bill in the Legislature, and thank the Governor for signing this into law.”

“For more than 50 years, the Summer Youth Employment Program has facilitated the kind of real-world training and support necessary to prepare our most vulnerable children for their future careers,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. "SYEP provides teens and young adults with valuable work experience and also puts money into their pockets to help with family expenses. Exempting income earned by SYEP participants for the purpose of calculating public benefits is crucial for young people from low-income families in high-poverty neighborhoods who experience the greatest difficulties. We want to express our appreciation to Assemblyman Eichenstein for dedicating his first year in the Assembly to passage of this important legislation which will allow families who rely on public benefits to fully participate in SYEP."