New parents have many blessings to count, but with so much to do in the whirlwind days following the arrival of a newborn, extra time is not one of them. Yet, for decades, the New York State Department of Health has allowed only 5 days after the delivery for new parents to apply for their infant’s birth certificate.
A recent bill co-sponsored by Senators Pamela Helming (R-Ontario County) and Simcha Felder (D-Midwood), and by Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Far Rockaway), gives new parents an additional 10 days to apply and one less reason to lie awake at night.
“The arrival of a new child is a joyous occasion, but it comes with plenty of stress,” said Senator Felder. “I can’t count the number of problem cases we’ve had over the years as a result of the short application deadline.”
The narrow window to apply has long been a great source of aggravation for new parents scrambling to make the cutoff. Missing the deadline can cause months of headaches when adding a new child to a family health insurance plan, registering for food stamps, qualifying for government benefits, and other issues. Observant Jewish parents, who often wait up to eight days before naming a child, face particular difficulties.
“I represent a large Orthodox Jewish community, and this is a crucial issue here,” said Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato. “Not everybody is named at birth. If your religious tradition dictates that you give your child a name eight days later, the state forces you to either submit a name prematurely, or go through the time and expense of filing birth certificates twice. Also, as a mother – I know firsthand that any extension you can get to help attend to the myriad responsibilities of those all-important first few weeks is a big help. So I see this as win-win. I thank Senators Felder and Helming for their strong advocacy.”
The new legislation, now awaiting passage in the Assembly, extends the cutoff to a total of 15 days three times longer than the original—so new parents have a bit more time to attend to their infant’s needs, and maybe even catch up on some sleep.
“Our goal was to lessen the burden on parents so they can focus more on their new child, and less on paperwork,” said Senator Felder. “This common sense legislation is a genuine benefit for new parents and improves the quality of life of all New Yorkers…even those who are just a few days old.”
(YWN Desk – NYC)