Councilor Daniel Dromm introduces a resolution calling for DRIE protection to be extended to all disabled New Yorkers with disabilities. (Courtesy Dromm’s office)
With the protection of tenants on the minds of many Queens residents during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Councilor Daniel Dromm tabled a resolution on the Immigration Committee calling for New Yorkers with an immigrant background to be eligible for the DRIE program ( Disability Rent Increase Exemption) are possible.
“Since I took office, my office has been helping constituents apply for what is known as the Rent Freeze program, which allows low-income seniors and disabled New Yorkers to stay in their homes,” said Dromm. “In addition to meeting the financial criteria, recipients of the SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption) must be at least 62 years old. DRIE (Disability Rent Increase Exemption) recipients must provide evidence that they are receiving federal benefits, primarily through social security disability insurance or supplemental security income. SCRIE and DRIE are invaluable to many Jackson Heights and Elmhurst residents and the city as a whole. “
The DRIE program supports tenants with a disability who are entitled to freeze their rent at the current rate. Tenants would also be exempt from future rent increases from the date of their initial application approval.
“I represent an incredibly immigrant district and in my first term I chaired the immigration committee. I always try to be sensitive to the immigration perspective,” said Dromm. “I bring this lens to my work as chairman of the Finance Committee that oversees the Treasury Department, which manages SCRIE and DRIE. Unfortunately, in our society, immigrants in need are denied much government support and DRIE is no exception. Many disabled people in my district and across the city are ineligible for no other reason than their immigration status. You will not qualify for the relevant federal programs and therefore not for DRIE. It is fundamentally unfair that the most vulnerable are prevented from accessing the very programs that are designed to help them. SCRIE has worked to support our seniors regardless of their immigration status. And there is absolutely no reason why DRIE shouldn’t do the same. “
Dromm’s resolution is in line with a bill currently sponsored by Rep. Jessica González-Rojas and Senator Gustavo Rivera to remove barriers to helping people with disabilities across the state.
“New York State is home to millions of our immigrant neighbors, the majority of whom live in New York. During the coronavirus pandemic, we learned how differentiated the needs of these communities are and that they are at the intersection of enormous health and economic disparities, ”said González-Rojas. “So we can no longer ask these New Yorkers to choose healthcare or housing, public support or legal support. They need it all and it is the government’s job to bring it to them. After a great nationwide win for our excluded workers, I am proud to partner with Senator Gustao Rivera to introduce legislation that will expand the eligibility of our excluded immigrant neighbors to be exempt from the disability rent increase. I am grateful to Councilor Dromm for continuing to support our most vulnerable communities. This is his resolution in the Council and I look forward to adopting these laws. “