Nearly 70,000 Pennsylvania residents have lost their cash assistance benefits due to the state’s elimination of the program. While this step will save the state approximately $150 million a year, the question remains: how badly will this draconian step impact the most vulnerable among us?
GA Cash Program Served the Needy Since Great Depression
The GA program, as it is called, had served the needy since the Great Depression. Those who had qualified for General Assistance included sick or disabled adults without children, survivors of domestic violence, adult caregivers for another disabled or sick person, and those enrolled in drug or alcohol or other treatment programs.
Ending the $200 Monthly Assistance Causes Serious Difficulty
The program had provided people who couldn’t work with $200 monthly, hardly enough to live on in any case. Many people believe that getting rid of the program will hurt innocent people who are already having serious difficulties in their lives.
The program had been scheduled to end on July 1, but Democrats obtained a one-month delay so that the Department of Public Welfare could actually notify those involved of the upcoming benefit loss!
Petition to Reconsider Elimination of GA Program
Many who work with those dealing with disability or work compensation issues expect that CareerLink and Social Security system will be overwhelmed with applicants. A variety of groups, including the PA Cares For All coalition, have protected this move. The PA Cares For All Coalition has started a petition to recall this move and offers other resources on its website. State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas has called for the governor to reconsider this drastic step.