Replace General Assistance: Support Emergency Relief in PA

With the passage of HB 33, General (cash) Assistance has officially been eliminated. Everyone who was getting General Assistance has lost their cash assistance as of August 1, 2019 – even if they are disabled and cannot work. (More information from Community Legal Services is here.)

We are deeply disappointed about the elimination of General Assistance and grateful for everyone who has been part of the fight over the last couple of months. We will keep fighting together to restore this benefit. 

There are bills moving through the PA House (HB1709) and Senate (SB799) that aim to replace General Assistance and restore basic income for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable residents. 

Ask your PA elected officials to co-sponsor a bill to replace General Assistance and help people who do not have basic income.

PS- If you work with clients who lost General Assistance, please help them to fill out this survey so that we can start keeping accurate data to prove how much ending General Assistance harms people who received those benefits.



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  • Let Them Know Why General Assistance Should Have Been Preserved

    • General Assistance provides a small amount of cash support - about $200 per month - to a small, targeted population of Pennsylvanians in need of immediate help.
    • This support goes only to specific populations who need immediate and urgent assistance, like people with disabilities who cannot work and may otherwise become homeless, people facing domestic violence, people who are being treated for drug or alcohol use disorder, and children who are being cared for by friends or neighbors.
    • General Assistance is used to help people meet basic needs, like paying rent, buying a winter coat, fleeing an abusive situation at home, or covering co-pays that allow them to get medical treatment.
    • General Assistance typically functions as a loan.  Many who qualify are ultimately approved for Social Security Disability; when this happens, the state is paid back for GA payments.
    • General Assistance makes financial sense. These small cash payments can keep people out of shelters, hospitals, and foster care by meeting their most urgent needs. GA benefits are spent locally, benefitting communities across PA.  Because the state is often reimbursed for these payments, it costs relatively little.