New year, same cash assistance benefits

Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed your holidays.

While January 1 marked the beginning of a year in which we’ll see a new president sworn in and more women in high-ranking positions in the U.S. government, it also marks the 19th year in which cash assistance benefits in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have remained the same. That’s right – the poorest families in our state who are struggling to keep up with the spiraling cost of living have been receiving the exact same grant amounts for almost two decades. The benefits don’t increase with inflation either, and a dollar doesn’t go nearly as far in 2009 as it did in 1990.

For further information, see this op-ed written by WLP Program Assistant Christina Cann that was published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in August. An excerpt:

Even the federal government acknowledges that a family of three is living under the poverty line if their monthly income is $1,467 or less. Shamefully, that same family could receive no more than $403 per month in cash assistance in Pennsylvania, a small fraction of the federal poverty line.


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The Women's Law Project creates a more just and equitable society by advancing the rights and status of all women throughout their lives. To this end, we engage in high-impact litigation, advocacy, and education.
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