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  • October 1, 2013 - September 30, 2014

    Your Benefits Explained

    The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare offers a variety of benefits to residents of Pennsylvania who need help. To apply for these benefits, you can fill out an online form at COMPASS or visit a county assistance office near you.

    Federal Poverty Income Guidelines

    FPIGs are figures issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are used to establish eligibility for a variety, but not all, public assistance programs. These figures are revised annually based on changes in the Consumer Price Index. 2014 FPIG percentages used for various programs are as follows:


    33% of

    Annual100% of
    Annual120% of
    Annual133% of
    Annual135% of
    1 $321$3,852$973$11,670$1,167$14,004$1,294$15,522$1,313$15,755
    2 $433 $5,191$1,311$15,730$1,573$18,876$1,744$20,921$1,770$21,236
    3$545$6,531 $1,650$19,790$1,979$23,748$2,194$26,321$2,227$26,717
    4$656$7,871 $1,988$23,850$2,385$28,620$2,644$31,721$2,684$32,198
    5 $768 $9,211 $2,326$27,910$2,791$33,492$3,094$37,121$3,140$37,679
    6$880  $10,551 $2,665$31,970$3,197$38,364$3,544$42,521$3,597$43,160
    7 $991  $11,890$3,003$36,030$3,603$43,236$3,994$47,920$4,054$48,641
    8   $1,103 $13,230 $3,341$40,090$4,009$48,108$4,444$53,320$4,511$54,122
    Each Additional Person $+112$+1,340 $+339$+4,060$+406$+4,872$+450$+5,400$+457$+5,481

    Persons157% of FPIG MonthAnnual185% of FPIG MonthAnnual200% of FPIG MonthAnnual214% of FPIG MonthAnnual
    Each Additional Person$+532$+6,375$+626$+7,511$+677$+8,120$+725$+8,689

    Persons215% of FPIG MonthAnnual235% of FPIG MonthAnnual250%of FGIP MonthAnnual
    1 $2,091 $25,091$2,286 $27,425 $2,432 $29,175 
    2 $2,819  $33,820 $3,081 $36,966 $3,278$39,325 
    3 $3,546 $42,549 $3,876 $46,507 $4,123 $49,475
    4$4,274$51,278 $4,671 $56,048 $4,969 $59,625
    5 $5,001 $60,007 $5,466$65,589  $5,815 $69,775
    6$5,728$68,736  $6,261$75,130  $6,661 $79,925
    7$6,456 $77,465 $7,056$84,671  $7,507$90,075 
    8 $7,183 $86,194 $7,851$94,212  $8,353$100,225 
    Each Additional Person$+728   $+8,729$+796  $+9,541 $+846$+10,150 


    Based on your income and other eligibility requirements, you may be entitled to:

    Cash Assistance and Employment Training

    You can receive money and/or employment training if you do not earn enough money to support yourself and your family or if you are not able to work because of a disability. You can also apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (the new name for food stamps), Medical Assistance (also known as Medicaid) and other benefits at the same time that you apply for Cash Assistance.

    You can still collect child support if you receive Cash Assistance. As a condition of eligibility, your child support payments must be assigned to the Department of Public Welfare. However, you can receive up to $100 in support pass through each month for one child if the support is paid timely. If there is more than one child in the family you can receive up to $200 per month in support pass through. More information on child support.

    If you have questions about Cash Assistance and employment training, you can call your county assistance office or make a free phone call to the HelpLine at 1-800-692-7462 (1-800-451-5886 TDD number for individuals with hearing impairments).

    Health Care Coverage

    If you do not make enough money to pay medical bills, are pregnant, meet other requirements and/or have high medical expenses, you may be eligible to receive Medical Assistance – also known as MA or Medicaid – to help pay for health care services.

    Fee-for-service, as well as, Voluntary and mandatory Medical Assistance Managed Care Plans are in place in many communities throughout the commonwealth. Your primary care physician or the managed care plan's member services department can tell you what will be covered under the managed care plan. At a minimum, all services covered by the ACCESS (fee-for-service) program are covered under managed care. Additional services may be covered by some Managed Care Plans.

    Recipients with concerns related to requests for Prior Authorization/Program Exception may call 1-800-433-1324. For other concerns, it is recommended that the medical provider contact OMAP at the provider points of contact. Staff at the HelpLine, telephone 1-800-692-7462 (1-800-451-5886 TTD number for individuals with hearing impairment), can provide general information about the various categories of Medical Assistance coverage. Recipients who have medically related problems and are experiencing difficulty in dealing with or obtaining care through their Managed Care Plan may call the Clinical Sentinel Hotline (CSH) at 1-800-426-2090. For non-medically related issues, the recipient should contact their Managed Care Plan directly.

    If you have questions about health care coverage, you can call your county assistance office or make a free phone call to the Medicaid Information Helpline at 1-800-842-2020 (1-800-451-5886 TDD number for individuals with hearing impairments).

    If you have complaints about poor quality medical service or intentional program violations by a provider, you can submit the complaint in writing to the Office of Medical Assistance Programs, Bureau of Program Integrity, P.O. Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17105.

    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

    If you do not have enough money to buy food for yourself and your family, you can receive a Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS card. This card works like a bank debit card and allows you to make food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets.

    EBT cards can be used for SNAP/food stamp purchases in states where the retailers are participating in Quest. To find out which are Quest states you may call the HelpLine at 1-800-692-7462 (1-800-451-5886 number TTD for individuals with hearing impairments). ATM's with a STAR logo and/or a QUEST logo will also accept the EBT card.

    If you have questions about SNAP, you can call your county assistance office or make a free phone call to the HelpLine at 1-800-692-7462 (1-800-451-5886 TDD number for individuals with hearing impairments).

    Home Heating Assistance

    The Pennsylvania Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help you pay your home heating bills or if you are in an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your heat. More information about LIHEAP.

    If you have questions about home heating assistance, you can call your county assistance office or make a free phone call for LIHEAP Information at 1-866-857-7095 (1-800-451-5886 TDD number for individuals with hearing impairments).

    Child Care

    If you are working or in an education program, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance to help with child care while you are at work or school. More information about subsidized child care.

    If you have questions about subsidized child care, you can call your local Child Care Information Services office or make a free phone call to the Child Care Works HelpLine at 1-877-4-PAKIDS.

    Other Benefits

    You may also be eligible to receive assistance with other services such as employment training and assistance, long-term care, free or reduced price school meals for your child, help with prescription medications, care and support for people with disabilities or care and education for children with special needs. If you have questions about any benefits programs, you can call your county assistance office or make a free phone call to the DPW HelpLine at 1-800-692-7462 (1-800-451-5886 TDD number for individuals with hearing impairments).