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Welfare Program Reinstated in Pennsylvania, 6 Years After Lawmakers Ended It

As of Monday, Pennsylvanians once again can apply for General Assistance, a monthly cash program that aided the poorest individuals in the commonwealth before it was eliminated by the Legislature and then-Gov. Tom Corbett in 2012.

By Kate Giammarise

As of Monday, Pennsylvanians once again can apply for General Assistance, a monthly cash program that aided the poorest individuals in the commonwealth before it was eliminated by the Legislature and then-Gov. Tom Corbett in 2012.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the law that repealed the program, Act 80, saying the legislative process used to pass the bill was unconstitutional.

The program gave $205 monthly to about 60,000 people, many of whom were waiting for Social Security disability determinations.

The state’s Department of Human Services is working to implement the court decision, the agency said in a statement Friday.

“We are currently working to update internal systems and train staff to determine eligibility and process general assistance cash benefits. Eligible Pennsylvanians will start receiving general assistance as soon as all updates are completed,” according to a statement.

Those approved for the program would not receive any benefits until September. The program cost the state about $150 million annually.

 

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