Rockland Social Service Challenging Judge’s Decision on Childcare Payments

The Rockland Social Services Department is requesting a hearing before a second judge after a state judge ruled that students in religious study centers known as kollels who were being paid to answer questions and complete research work are eligible for child care payments. Rockland DSS has claimed that more than $50,000 in child care is going to adult students who are paid a stipend and do not have federal taxes taken out of their paychecks, rather than employees at the centers who have federal taxes deducted. Families in the child care program are provided assistance while looking for jobs. According to officials there are about 511 families with 1,500 children receiving assistance. Susan Sherwood, DSS Commissioner, stated that a state audit of the service raised their awareness to a lack of FICA payments from the student employees, which led them to look into the recipients of the aid. According to records three families challenging the DSS decision to declare them ineligible made about $52,450 between January 1 and October 2013 through their own income as well as medicaid, child care aid, and food stamps. Sherwood stated that the pattern is a clear misuse of the program, which has a waiting list of about 381 families, and the removal 118 families should have been upheld in court.

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