Latest DPW figures bring bad news

June 10, 2012

The Department of Public Welfare’s latest statistics for April were just released and they continue to paint a sad, even alarming picture. Total enrollment of kids in Medicaid and CHIP is down again, by 4,128 children. That’s more than an entire high school of kids who won’t be able to see a doctor for a broken bone, a pair of glasses or an immunization. Remember when we had a bipartisan consensus to cover all kids? What happened? So far no explanation.

Remember when the goal of welfare was to move people to work and self-sufficiency? The latest DPW data shows that the Administration is doing a very poor job of training people and helping them find work. Only 5.3% of TANF families have any earnings from work, down from 7.6% in the month that the Corbett Administration took office. TANF case closures based on earnings are also far below that of the previous Administration – only 1610 cases were closed last month because the family got a job that paid enough to move them off assistance. Some might say reducing the welfare to work budget by 40% might have contributed to this trend, but the Administration has turned more and more to punishing people for perceived shortcomings. Disqualification for failure to abide by the byzantine rules of the new system (a process known as sanctioning) has increased markedly – 807 families were newly sanctioned last month, bringing the total number of sanctioned families in April to 1907. Even more disturbing, 863 families, including the children, were denied all cash assistance. Not satisfied with “only” punishing 863 families, DPW is rumored to be seeking authority to cut off all the children in all families.

In short, Pennsylvania has moved away from helping families find work, to punishing entire families when parents are unable navigate the system. We changed from “welfare to work” to “welfare to nothing.”


Many Philadelphians may lose their TANF and Medical Assistance this Summer

July 15, 2011

Errors by overwhelmed workers anticipated during Logjam July

Philadelphiawelfare offices will have a lot of extra work to do this summer in addition to their other work.  They are being instructed to hold extra interviews for up to 9,300 TANF recipients and review around 16,000 Medical Assistance cases – all by August 12.  We are worried that many families will lose their benefits as welfare workers are overwhelmed by this unwieldy and hasty review process.

For a printable flier on what to expect this summer–including a preview of the notice thousands of families will be receiving–click here.

Who is at risk of losing their benefits?

There are three groups of people who may be at risk:

  1. Adults who have received TANF for more than 60 months in their lifetime since 1997;
  2. Adults who currently have a Good Cause reason not to participate in TANF welfare-to-work requirements; and
  3. Families with pending Medical Assistance renewals. Read the rest of this entry »