General Assistance is for low-income residents who need help, but don’t qualify for traditional welfare because they don’t have dependents. Currently, there are more than 6,600 enrollees in the program. More than half of them live in Philadelphia. Allegheny County has the next most enrollees. For instance:
- A 61 year old, named John, who is no longer on the streets, 17 months sober, free of alcohol and cocaine, and taking GED classes as he turns his life around, relies on this assistance to survive.
- A 26 year old, named Klaudia, who dreams of running of non-profit for battered women, is being treated for mental illness, and waits for her Social Security Disability benefits to be processed, relied on this assistance to survive.
- A 58 year old, named Sandra with diabetes and neurological challenges, who cares for a husband with disabilities, relied on this assistance to survive.
- A 51 year old, named Todd with no children or siblings, who spent the last ten years caring for his sick parents and has had one leg amputated due to diabetes, relies on this assistance to survive.
Alan Smith, co-chair of GPPA said, “We demand that the Pennsylvania state legislature let payments continue to General Assistance recipients and cease all attacks on vital programs for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents.”
General Assistance provides recipients with about $200 per month. The majority helped by the General Assistance program have no other income. 90% of the people on the program have disabilities. Recipients also include individuals in substance use disorder treatment, survivors of domestic violence, and adults caring for non-relative children. The people helped by this program are often ineligible for other public benefit programs because they do not have dependents. Many rely on this program while they wait months and sometime years for their applications for Social Security Disability benefits to be processed.
“General Assistance is being targeted by the majority-Republican legislature as part of its bigger plan to dismantle an array of programs that help struggling Pennsylvanians get by,” wrote Heidi Schultheis, analyst for the Center for American Progress. Chris Robinson, a GPPA delegate from Philadelphia, agreed, saying, “This attempt to cut aid to the most vulnerable here in Pennsylvania is unconscionable and must be stopped.”
“The legislature must stop kicking the poor when they are down,” said Sheri Miller, co-chair of GPPA from Adams County. “No longer can we accept that the wealthy get it easy and the poor pay more. The Green Party of Pennsylvania urges everyone to call their PA Representative and tell them to vote against HB 33, which will cut the General Assistance program. We must bring attention to this egregious injustice and stop the war on the poor, so that John, Klaudia, Sandra, Todd, and thousands of other Pennsylvanians can not only survive but thrive.”
The Green Party is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party four pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please visit www.gpofpa.org. Follow GPPA on social media: Facebook and Twitter.
Green Party of Pennsylvania
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Alan Smith, co-chair of GPPA Steering Committee,
Jocolyn Bowser-Bostic, chair of Delaware County Green Party
Chris Robinson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-843-4256