Pennsylvania restores cash assistance for those in need

Pat Loeb
November 21, 2018 - 5:33 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Just in time for the holidays, Pennsylvania has restored General Assistance cash benefits. The state Supreme Court ruled in July that the program must be reinstated. Recipients began getting benefits this week.

The legislature eliminated cash assistance in 2012, so it took several months to recreate the program, but Community Legal Services attorney Richard P. Weishaupt says payments are being sent this week to about 2,500 people.

"There's a great deal of relief," he said. "Almost all of these folks were extremely low-income or had no income at all, and have been surviving based on help from families and other people."

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Weishaupt says another 6,000 applicants have been approved and should be receiving benefits by the end of the month. He says some 13,000 applicants have been found ineligible but he says they should re-apply because there may be errors in their application.

The program provides about $200 a month for people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, parents of young children and students with no other means of support. 

"Even having a little bit of money will mean they can find a place to live, they can pay their electric bill, they can buy a winter coat," Weishaupt said, "all things that we all take for granted, but that a lot of people don't have the wherewithal to do."

The Supreme Court ruled the General Assembly violated the state constitution when it ended the program.