Even though we've been experiencing some record-level inflation in America, the economy in New York is still booming by all accounts.

Data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows that the Empire State has primarily recovered from the lows that happened during COVID-19. In fact, the Labor Force Participation Rate In New York is higher today than it was right before the onset of the pandemic.

Now, while unemployment is nearing record lows across the state, there are still plenty of people who need help to get by day-to-day, and that's why the state offers a robust array of public assistance programs to assist people when they need a hand.

From HEAP to Food Stamps and Public Assistance to Medicaid, the Empire State spends a fair amount of taxpayer money every year to care for residents.

But, have you ever wondered how much money and who, exactly, is getting these benefits?

How Much Money Does New York Spend On Public Assistance?

The New York State Department of Temporary and Disability Assistance is the division of state government responsible for supporting people who require public benefits.

Every month, they publish all sorts of data on the Open NY Data website. Among the data that's made available is their monthly expenditure report, which breaks down exactly how much money was spent by the state in the various forms of public assistance and who that money went to. The most recent data available is for August 2023, and the information is quite telling:

597,013 5,894 (1.0%) 64,828 (12.2%)
$234,579,716

  • 4,067,349 New Yorkers received some sort of state government benefits that month,
  • and $1,255,111,179 was spent by the state on those benefits for those New Yorkers.

Who In New York State Uses The Most Welfare?

When you dig into the data, you can truly narrow down where the money is going and what areas within the state are doing better than others.

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
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When breaking out the Temporary Assistance, that's typically what's considered welfare, from the rest of the spending (SNAP and SSI), we find that nearly 600,000 New Yorkers are getting TA.

So, out of those roughly 600,000 TA recipients, what county accounts for the most?

New York City, which is 5 Counties, accounts for the most significant TA usage. More than 480,000 people, or nearly 6% of the city's population, receive TA in New York City.

This number doesn't tell the whole story; since New York City doesn't break its data down by County, it's hard to parse this down to what counties account for more of this spending than others.

The county in New York with the 2nd highest usage is Chautauqua County; more than 3% of the population in this southern-tier county receives TA.

These Counties Have The Most Temporary Assistance Recipients Per Capita In New York State

Temporary Assistance (TA) usage, also known as Public Assistance (PA), has increased steadily over the last few years.

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice

These Counties Have The Most Food Stamp Recipients Per Capita In New York

SNAP usage has increased across the state since the start of the pandemic

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice