Advocates For Needy Urge Changes To PA Welfare System

In a report released Monday called Mending the Safety Net, CLS said the cash assistance program's requirements are too burdensome and that it doesn't provide families with nearly enough money each month.

News Story (Pennsylvania)

Aaron Moselle
WESA (Pittsburgh)
August 18, 2016

Tags: Public Benefits

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia


“We think there’s a perfect storm,” said Kristen Dama, supervising attorney at CLS.

The report lays out several solutions for improving TANF, including retraining caseworkers, offering non-recurring grants for special needs such as back-to-school clothes or diapers, and raising grant levels. Those grant levels haven’t changed since 1990.

A single mother with two children, Pennsylvania’s most common TANF enrollee, gets $403 a month. The federal poverty line is $1,680 a month.

CLS would also like to make it easier for applicants to apply for jobs while they’re waiting to be accepted into the program, a requirement.