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“Philly demonstration protests end of General Assistance”

Minnesota capitol building vigil in support of...

Minnesota capitol building vigil in support of General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) (Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue)

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This August 1, 2012 article found on the Philly.com website highlights concerns being raised by people protesting the elimination of Pennsylvania’s General Assistance program..

“CMS Probes Sharp Drop in Pennsylvania Medicaid Rolls”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicaid administrator) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This article found on the Governing the states and localities website dated July 12, 2012, indicates that Pennsylvania is being investigated by the federal government in light of the dropping of over 100,000 Pennsylvanians from the Medicaid program during a time when the DPW was reporting they weren’t able to process the information they were receiving from clients efficiently.

“Pennsylvania cuts services for most needy” (Editorial)

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This July 11, 2012 article found on the Standard Speaker website talks about the reality faced by about 70,000 Pennsylvanians this month.  Letters have been sent to recipients of General Assistance informing them they will no longer receive benefits after July 30, 2012

“Republicans Cut off Food Assistance to Millions of Americans who own a Car “

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This July 7, 2012 article found on the Politicus USA website talks about a recent move by republicans to cut food stamp funding by disqualifying people who own a car the money saved will then go to subsidize farming.

“With loss of general assistance program, many in Lehigh Valley unsure of next step”

Counties comprising the Lehigh Valley region o...

Counties comprising the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This July 1, 2012 article on The Morning Call website, talks about the impact of the elimination of the General Assistance program.  It is an article specific to Lehigh Valley, but the same story is playing out across the state.

“Pa.’s unkindest cut gets one-month delay”

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This July 1, 2012 article found on the LancasterOnline website talks about not only the fact that cash assistance is being eliminated, but also raises concerns about the ripple effect of the elimination of this program may cause.  Recipients will receive their last General Assistance stipend during the last week of July according to this article.

“Cash assistance program gets a 30-day extension “

Map of the 67 counties of the Commonwealth of ...

Map of the 67 counties of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This article dated June 29, 2012 on WITF.com discusses the 30 extension for folks in Pennsylvania on General Assistance.  recipients should be able to receive cash assistance until the end of July with August 1, 2012 being the new date for the elimination of the program.

“Budget Agreement Details at a Glance ” (2012-2013) (and some personal thoughts)

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This article on the PA House Republican Caucus website does not have a date indicating a specific day it was posted, but based on the contents I’m going to assume it was either today or yesterday (June 28, 2012 or June 29, 2012) based on content and when I found it (June 29, 2012).

The article highlights various aspects of the state budget giving a brief summary of some of the hot topic items along with a few others.

While the Human Service block grant was not implemented, there was a decision made to run a pilot program to test the block grant out rather than go statewide right off the back.  Also, General assistance appears to have been eliminated from the budget, but those who have received General Assistance despite losing the cash assistance part of it, should still be able to receive Medical Assistance if I’m understanding things correctly.  I know that there are folks who have waited for a response from Social Security who aren’t able to work, so I hope that if you are reading this and know someone who is on General Assistance, you take a moment to reach out to them, because their lives have probably gone from bad to worse with this change.

I was someone who at one time was on General Assistance, while I went through the process of applying for Social Security, and if it hadn’t been for General Assistance and other programs, I would have been in a situation where I would have had the option of either living on the streets or moving in with family or friends and freeloading off them until I was told I was approved for Social Security.  For me it was a time where I was experiencing some severe mental health issues in the form of a Conversion Disorder that manifested as Blindness, compounded by PTSD, Depression and a lifelong struggle with Anxiety among other things, and I lost my job, my apartment, and was at the mercy of my family and the government when it came to trying to keep from becoming homeless.  I am grateful to those who reached out to me during that time, and hope that there are others who will do the same for folks they may know who are in a similar situation.   Sometimes something as simple as giving someone a ride to the place they need to go to apply for something to possibly help them can mean the world to someone in that situation, because even though that application isn’t a guarantee, it does offer a glimmer of hope that maybe things will improve, and when you are in that place, even a glimmer of hope can mean the world to you.  I lost the majority of my belongings when I lost my apartment, and when someone gave me some pans that they had lying around, it was a huge thing for me, because I knew at that moment that if I could manage to keep a roof over my head I would have a way to cook food.  Someone else helped me fill out paperwork during times when I wasn’t able to see because of the Conversion Disorder, and I can’t thank them enough for that act of kindness, it was something they could have easily told me I had to do it myself, but they saw I had a need for help and they helped me do what I needed to do to meet deadlines for paperwork.

My point in sharing that aspect of my life isn’t to make folks feel sorry for me, but to point out that there are ways that we can help people who will be effected by the elimination of General Assistance, that doesn’t require giving someone money.  I know there are people who are hesitant to give people money, which is why I wanted to point out there are other ways to help the folks who will be affected by the elimination of General Assistance.

“No Notice: DPW Memo Says General Assistance Benefits to be Eliminated Without Notice”

Link

This article found on the Housing Alliance website dated June 26, 2012 includes a copy of a memo from the PA DPW about General Cash Assistance

Below is a copy of a memo about the elimination of General Cash Assistance as of June 30, 2012

ops memo eliminating GA (1)

“Welfare’s stigma is difficult to overcome”

http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2011/08/welfares_stigma_is_difficult_t.html

This article published on PennLive.com on August 7, 2011 discusses the stigma faced by folks who receive public assistance and the difficulty in trying to shed that stigma.

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