CLS applauds the Corbett administration for offering additional assistance to Pennsylvanians terminated from adultBasic

April 26, 2011

CLS applauds the Corbett Administration for providing additional guidance and assistance toPennsylvaniaadults who lost their adultBasic health insurance on March 1, 2011 in seeking health insurance coverage through the Medical Assistance program,Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program.

On April 14, 2011, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department sent out 8,300 letters to women between the ages of 18 and 44 who lost their adultBasic health insurance when the program ended.  The letters advised women that they may qualify for SelectPlan for Women, a limited Medical Assistance program that provides gynecological care and other women’s health services.  The letters also advised women as to how they could seek more comprehensive Medical Assistance benefits. Read the rest of this entry »

Courts’ Newly Aggressive Collection Efforts Can Have Real Consequences for Low-Income Philadelphians

April 17, 2011

In recent months, the Philadelphia courts have begun newly aggressive efforts to collect debts to the criminal courts.  A new court payment system has been put in place to collect outstanding court costs, fines, restitution payments, supervision fees, and forfeited bail.  There may be real consequences for people who do not get into a payment plan for what they owe, including loss of some public benefits, wage garnishment, and even a lien on property/Sheriff’s Sale.

Advocates at Community Legal Services have been working with the courts to ensure that the new court payment system is implemented in a way that is fair to low-income individuals.  Read more about the system and what individuals who think they may owe money can do about it to prevent more serious consequences later on.

Read the rest of this entry »

How will pending state legislation affect low-income families?

April 14, 2011

CLS advocates have received several questions recently about the package of eight welfare bills pending in the Pennsylvania legislature.

Most of these bills will cause significant harm to low-income Pennsylvanian families moving from welfare to work.  We hope the following documents help families and their advocates understand more about what these bills would do.

For more information or if you have any questions on these bills, please contact Louise Hayes ( or Michael Froehlich (

Briefing papers on pending legislation:

Chart of pending welfare bills in the House (updated 4/15/2011)

HB 392 (photos on EBT & child support (EPPI) cards)

HB 1251 (increases penalties for welfare fraud; removes such cases from district justice court)

HB 1297 (requires drug testing for people with felony drug convictions within the past five years; people who fail lose cash, SNAP, and/or SSP.)

HB 1301 (Medical Assistance Transportation Program — sets rules for the program in law)

HB 1312 (Special allowances for supportive services — makes this existing grant program into a loan program, with exception of public transportation and mileage reimbursement.  Loans capped at $2,000 to be repaid in 24 months)

Below are two briefing papers on how the Governor’s proposed budget cuts to the Department of Public Welfare will affect Pennsylvanians:

Proposed “Fair Share” Cuts to DPW’s Budget Would Harm Families Moving From Welfare to Work

Proposed Budget Cuts are Harmful to Seniors

April 6, 2011

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