State safety net program shuts down in two weeks

From: Sunbury Daily Item

HARRISBURG – A move to eliminate the general assistance program means that about 11,000 Pennsylvanians who don’t qualify for other state-operated welfare programs will stop getting just over $200 a month, according to the Department of Human Services..

July is the last month the state will make payments to the people who’ve been receiving assistance through the program, said Erin James, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services.

Advocates say that 80 percent of the people who get the aid are people with disabilities who are waiting for approval to get Social Security benefits.

“The Department of Human Services is working closely with our partners throughout the commonwealth to ensure that accurate and helpful information is reaching recipients of General Assistance,” James said. “To the best of our ability, we are connecting people with available resources and making the nonprofit community aware of the potential for increased need.”
Republicans have criticized the program as having too little accountability and being focused on adults without children. The state eliminated the assistance program in 2012. The state Supreme Court revived it last year by ruling that the law eliminating general assistance had been passed too quickly after it was amended.

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