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News

September 29, 2008

STATEMENT BY COMMISSIONER MINTZ ON PASSAGE OF THE
EXEMPT INCOME PROTECTION ACT

“Governor Paterson has now signed into law the Exempt Income Protection Act, keeping New Yorkers’ public assistance dollars, veterans’ benefits and social security disability payments from illegal seizure. While people have legal obligations to pay their debts, certain funds are relied upon to meet basic daily needs - like food and shelter - and so federal law prevents commercial creditors from arranging for banks and credit unions to freeze them to satisfy debts. This new law empowers banks and credit unions to protect such monies automatically, no longer impermissibly freezing the account and creating an immediate hardship and the need for a lawyer.

“In the midst of the current focus on Wall Street, we cannot lose sight of the pressing needs of consumers with low incomes. The Department of Consumer Affairs and its Office of Financial Empowerment is committed to helping New Yorkers with low incomes both learn about debt and how to responsibly manage their financial affairs. We were therefore pleased to play a role in the enactment of this legislation. I want to thank the Governor and the State Legislature, as well as the City’s Legislative Affairs Office, for their commitment to this critical issue.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Tali Aronsky / Elizabeth Miller
                           Department of Consumer Affairs
                           (212) 487-4283