Judge Rules Religious Students Can Receive Child-Care

New York State Judge, Mark Lahey, ruled that religious students being paid to study and answer questions from their peers were, “engaged in work.” In 2013 Rockland Social Services removed 118 families with 250 children from a list of people receiving temporary benefits and child care while working or looking for jobs. The waiting list includes 381 families with 700 children in all. Three families receiving about $52,450 from January to October from the program challenged the decision. Social Services defend their actions stating that the students had claimed exemptions on social security taxes and were not actually employees at the religious center, so did not qualify for child care. According to multiple students they aren’t paid for when they don’t work and they report all wages to the Internal Revenue Service. Lahey stated that there is no law that wage need to be subjected to FICA taxes to benefit from child care programs. Social Services Commissioner Susan Sherwood stated that they will be adding the three families back to the program.

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