Department of Public Welfare Highlights Success in Moving Families to Work

HARRISBURG – With a record number of Pennsylvanians who receive cash assistance working and the cash assistance caseload declining, Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman Thursday launched a Web site offering facts about the department’s success in helping low-income families continue to move from welfare to independence.

“In recent months, there have been misleading and inaccurate statements about Pennsylvania’s success in helping families achieve self-sufficiency. Pennsylvanians deserve to know the whole story,” said Richman. “The Moving Pennsylvania Families to Independence Web site highlights our ongoing success in helping people move from welfare to work, as well as our continuing efforts to prevent and prosecute welfare fraud.”

The new Web site is aimed at providing accurate information about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF. Found here, it offers facts about welfare in Pennsylvania today, including:

–The number of families relying on cash assistance is nearing the lowest level in more than a decade. Since October 2005, the number of children and adults receiving TANF has declined by 45,400 people – a decrease of 16 percent.
–Due to the decreasing cash assistance caseload statewide, the department has been able to reduce its budget for cash assistance by $72.3 million over the past two years.
–Pennsylvania is cracking down on welfare fraud. Every application undergoes more than a dozen automated checks for identity and income that protect against abuses that occurred in the 1990s.
–The vast majority of the DPW budget goes toward providing health care services to older adults and people with disabilities; only 3.2 percent goes toward cash assistance benefits.

Pennsylvania’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program provides short-term assistance to families when the support of one or both parents is interrupted, or provides supplemental support when family income from employment and other sources does not meet basic needs. Adults undergo skills and employment assessments and are required to engage in activities that enhance self-sufficiency and ensure the well-being of their children.

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