Visitor Question

Damages caused by incompetent Human Resources Administration?

Submitted By: Oscar (New York, New York)

In 2009, I was in the process of filing for SS Disability. During this time, I was forced to seek assistance from the NYC HRA (Human Resources Administration). From 2010 to 2013, I was subjected to multiple wrongful case closures. I won every appeal. I was forced to buy crutches and suffer pain or have my case closed.

I made it on the final day, but while they were taking down my information, they were closing my case at the same time. I did not find out my case was closed until I arrived for a “back to work” evaluation appointment and was told my case was closed.

The long delay caused my benefits to be halted, resulting in non payment of rent. This resulted in a eviction notice from the Landlord, and multiple court hearings. In Dec 20 2012, rent checks mysterious stopped being sent to landlord after a change in rent was issued. I had to take a cab to the Job center to inform them that the checks were not being sent. Was told it would be corrected in 2 weeks.

The problem was not corrected after 3 months, and subsequent attempts to fix the issue remained. This resulted in another eviction attempt for non payment. I had to beg for money from friends in order to get cab fare in order to get to court for something I was not responsible for. This caused me enormous amounts of grief, mental anguish, hopelessness & frustration due to the incompetence of NYC HRA.

I also asked HRA for compensation for the money wasted in answering the court summons, but was ignored. I wish to file a suit for damages, pain & suffering, and the mental anguish caused by their rampant incompetence & abuse. But I don’t know if what they did warrants any damages. Is there a case here? Do I have ANY recourse? What can I do? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Oscar,

The New York City Human Resources Administration, Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS) is a governmental agency dedicated to fighting poverty and income inequality by providing New York City residents in need of assistance with essential benefits, such as Food Assistance and Emergency Rental Assistance.

HRA is the largest local social services agency in the country, providing assistance to over three (3) million New York City residents. The Agency is responsible for the administration of more than 12 major public assistance programs, and there are over 14,000 HRA employees with an operating budget of $9.7 billion.

Unless you can show the actions or omissions of HRA or its employees were intentionally taken in a manner which demonstrates “rampant incompetence and abuse” amounting to gross negligence or a wanton disregard for your safety and well-being, you do not have the basis of a legitimate claim.

And if you were able to prove HRA’s actions were grossly negligent or displayed a wanton disregard for your safety and well-being, you would then need to prove such gross negligence or wanton disregard was the direct and proximate cause of your pain and mental anguish.

To establish direct and proximate cause would require psychiatric or psychological narratives written by a psychiatrist or psychologist directly linking HRA’s actions or omissions (amounting to gross negligence or wanton disregard for your safety) to your pain and mental anguish. That will be very difficult to accomplish.

Psychiatrists and psychologists are expensive. At this time it doesn’t appear you have the funds to seek out those professional opinions. However if there comes a time when you can, then you may be able to continue your pursuit of a claim against HRA.

HRA also handles it’s own appeals. For more information about filing an appeal of your denied claim, go to HRA Disability Access.

Learn more here: Can You Sue the Government for Injury?

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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