New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Fight Poverty with Automatic Benefits

New York Times coverage of Automatic Benefits and Ben Kallos

No one should go hungry, lose their home, or go without healthcare in New York City, one of the wealthiest cities in the world. We are a City with hundreds of programs designed to help those in need.

As you may have read in the New York Times, over the past four years, Ben worked with experts in the Federal government, academia, non-profits, and the private sector to advance legislation and research the regulatory framework to legally provide benefits automatically, so New Yorkers get the benefits they qualify for. In our work, Ben has secured millions in funding to research Automatic Benefits policies and even helped make the software necessary freely available to the public. In December of 2017, the City Council passed a measure to study the feasibility and possible effectiveness of implementing my Automatic Benefits legislation.

The city’s study was completed in 2018 and proved that my Automatic Benefits legislation could  save taxpayer dollars by taking advantage of the legal research, grants, and software that we’ve already secured for the city and this plan. The study has spurred a systematic review of various benefits access initiatives within different City agencies or offices, thereby creating an opportunity to streamline processes. In 2019, the City’s first-ever Benefits Screening API was released, allowing for better access to the 30+ social service benefits that are available to residents.

As Borough President, Ben will take on poverty by making sure every New Yorker who qualifies for benefits gets them.