A new report released
yesterday accuses the agency that distributes food stamps and Medicaid of
breaking the law and its own rules by not providing translation services to
The report, by Legal
Services for New York City,
which represents low-income clients, found that 10% of the 69 Human Resource
Administration centers it surveyed did not have any translation services,
including signs offering interpretation, applications for benefits in languages
other than English, and bilingual staff members. An HRA spokeswoman, Barbara
Brancaccio, criticized the authors of the report for not releasing the findings
to the agency ahead of time, and said the agency would investigate whether the
results were accurate.
The report found that two-
thirds of the centers did not have documents in all of the city’s most commonly
spoken languages other than English, while 18% of offices around the city did
not even have applications in Spanish.
The report’s authors, Amy Taylor and Dimple
Abichandani, said they conducted the study over the summer, after some of their
clients told them their benefits had been cut and that they had gone to the
centers and found no one to translate, they said.