A Message from the Deputy
The Termination of General Assistance Cash Benefits
Last week the Department of Public Welfare inadvertently mailed DRAFT letters to recipients who were affected by the budget proposal to eliminate General Assistance (GA) cash benefits. These letters prematurely announced GA cash assistance policy changes that have been revised and passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor. Since the budget was only completed on June 30, we heard some concerns that this did not provide fair notice to individuals. While there is no requirement to provide advance notice for the complete elimination of a state only program, the proposal to extend benefits until August 1, 2012 will provide additional time to notify those currently receiving these benefits of the phase out. The Administration has agreed to the proposal to extend the phase out of the GA cash program until August 1, 2012.Those currently on GA will receive a cash payment for July 2012, however no payments will be made past July.
Over this past weekend the majority of GA cases were temporarily restored to their original benefit status. While this measure provides an immediate remedy for most, there are still some areas that need to be worked out. Executive Staff, the Bureau of Policy and the Bureau of Program Support, Division of Automation Planning and Support, along with numerous other staff are continuing to work steadily to resolve additional challenges specific to this situation.
Because of the complex nature of this issue I am sure that you will continue to receive questions and concerns from clients. We are in the process of preparing additional information that will assist you in addressing their concerns. When dealing with those affected by this change, please provide them with any resources you may be aware of and continue to be sensitive to their situation, as this has a major impact on their lives. I appreciate your continued support and commitment to helping Pennsylvanians in need. I am especially grateful for your patience and expertise as we work through this adjustment period.
Lourdes R. Padilla
Office of Income Maintenance