Starting Monday, grants are available for Pennsylvania families with children who are struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Emergency Assistance Program will give qualifying families a one-time payment based on their family size, before June 12 or while funds last.
Do I Qualify?
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The state, which is running the program, posted the full list of requirements here. But in general, your family must have income below 150% of the federal poverty line – about $2,700 a month for a family of 3 – and have less than $1,000 in a savings or checking account.
Your family must include at least one child under age 18 or a woman who is currently pregnant – single women who are pregnant will qualify if their monthly income is $1,595 or under.
At least one person in the family must have been employed March 11, 2020 and had wages or hours cut at least 50 percent for two weeks. Or, at least one person in the family must have lost their job entirely due to the pandemic.
How Much Could I Get?
The grants are doled out in one lump sum equal to two months of benefits from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
The size of your grant varies by region of the state and family size. The rates for one month of TANF are available here, so click on the chart, find your county and family size, and double that listed amount.
For example, a Philadelphia family of 3 would receive $806 in the program – the rate is the same in Berks, Delaware and Lehigh counties.
How to Sign Up
Any Pennsylvania resident can apply online through the state's benefits website, COMPASS.
Why Is This Available?
Mayor Jim Kenney, who promoted the program in a weekend news release, said it can help keep Philadelphians financially afloat.
“This virus simply cannot be allowed to become a terrible tipping point that leaves people hungry or without shelter," he said. "This emergency help is available now if you are someone who has had trouble applying for unemployment—or if you are waiting for your unemployment to come through. This state program is limited—both in size and duration—but I am certain that every bit of assistance can make a huge difference.”
In her own statement, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller said: “The economic disruption caused by this pandemic is affecting families and communities across Pennsylvania in different ways. For many low-income Pennsylvanians, especially those awaiting unemployment compensation, this disruption could be completely destabilizing."
Where Is the Money Coming from?
The funds are coming from an existing pool of money used to fund TANF.