Welfare is making a comeback under Mayor de Blasio, with 13,000 more New Yorkers on the dole by the end of his first year in office, according to a new report obtained by The Post.
Enrollment in the city’s cash assistance program swelled by 4 percent in 2014 to 352,596 — one of the biggest increases in more than a decade, the Manhattan Institute found.
The rise comes even as the city’s economy has prospered — some 90,000 jobs were added in 2014, according to the “Poverty and Progress in New York” report being released Tuesday.
“If government dependence on welfare is rising in a good economy, what’s going to happen in a bad economy?” wondered study author Stephen Eide, who said the trend was antithetical to data dating back to around 1960.
The surprising uptick, reformers say, is partly by design. De Blasio’s pick to head the $10 billion Human Resources Administration, Steven Banks, is a proponent of loosening welfare restrictions.
With Banks at the helm, the HRA launched a series of sweeping changes in its state-approved Biennial Employment Plan, including changing requirements for welfare recipients with kids younger than 4 years old. Recipients previously had to clock a 35-hour workweek to get their checks.
Welfare recipients can now substitute full-time education — including GED preparation — for their work requirement.
The de Blasio administration is also phasing out the Giuliani-era Work Experience Program, which gave welfare recipients jobs in city agencies, in favor of “additional job search, work study or internships for cash assistance clients with recent work histories or with advanced degrees,” the report notes.