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26Mar

House Committee Votes to Eliminate General Assistance for Disabled Adults, People with Addiction

Pennsylvania Capital-Star

A state House committee voted along party lines Monday to eliminate a general assistance program for childless adults with disabilities, domestic violence survivors, and people in treatment for addiction.

General Assistance was first eliminated by the General Assembly in 2012, during the Corbett administration. That law was struck down last year by the state Supreme Court due to how it was passed.

Advocates for poor Pennsylvanians cheered the reinstatement of the program. But their joy may be short lived.

A bill introduced by Rep. George Dunbar, R-Westmoreland, would end the general assistance program effective July 1, 2019.

The Wolf administration budgeted $50 million for the program in new fiscal year that begins on that day. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, told Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller at a February budget hearing that Republicans aren’t interested in funding the program.

Democrats on the House Health Committee offered eight amendments to Dunbar’s bill, including one that would allow people in treatment for substance abuse to continue receiving monthly cash assistance. Most people receive $207 a month.

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