General Assistance Returns to PA

Pennsylvanians eligible for General Assistance have begun to receive their benefits, several months after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously held that Act 80 of 2012, which eliminated the program, had been enacted in a manner that violated the Pennsylvania Constitution. 

LAMPa and other advocates for low-income Pennsylvanians had opposed Act 80 in 2012, arguing that it increased homelessness as 68,000 Pennsylvanians immediately lost benefits that for many were the difference between having a roof over their heads or living in the streets.

When it passed, Community Legal Services brought the suit over its constitutionality. General Assistance provides $205  per month to very low income persons in PA who are:

  • People with a permanent or temporary disability verified by a physician.
  • Victims or survivor of domestic violence. (Eligible for nine months in a lifetime)
  • Enrolled in a drug or alcohol treatment program that keeps them from working. (Eligible for nne months in a lifetime).
  • Taking care of a child under 13 who is not related to them or caring for a disabled person who is not related to them.
  • 18-21 years old in a full time high school program who expects to graduate before they turn 21.

Applications can be made through the County Assistance office or online at . For assistance, information is available on local legal aid offices at

More detailed information and copies of Departmental policy can be found on the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia website. .  A copy of the most recent DHS policy is available to download here.

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