Changes to the PA Food Stamp Program
Posted by on November 10, 2008
Highlights of the Recent Changes to the Pennsylvania Food Stamp Program: What’s New and Why It Matters
The Food Stamp Program serves as the nation’s first line of defense against hunger. More than 29 million Americans (including 430,000 who live in the greater Philadelphia area) rely on food stamps to help feed their families. On October 1, 2008, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare implemented significant changes to the program, which have expanded eligibility and increased benefits.
Among the most exciting changes are:
Elimination of the asset test for nearly all households in Pennsylvania. Households can now receive food stamps even if they have modest savings. This allows families and seniors to preserve their hard-earned nest eggs and promotes financial stability.
Elimination of the cap on the child and dependent care deduction. In the past, program rules would only count a portion of a household’s dependent care costs. Now, parents trying to hold onto jobs or pursue education and training can pay for quality child care (or care for an elderly or disabled household member) while receiving higher food stamp benefits.
Raising and indexing for inflation the standard deduction and minimum benefit. These changes will begin to offset the eroding purchasing power of food stamps. On October 1, the minimum benefit rose from $10 to $14 a month, and the standard deduction (for clothing and other essential expenses) was indexed for inflation.
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