Department of Social Services reminds Pennsylvanians of resources available as families receive child tax credits

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Department of Social Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead today reminded Pennsylvanians of the programs available to meet basic needs such as housing, health care, access to food and utility payments as families begin to receive advance child tax credit payments from the federal government.

“The advanced child tax credit payments from the federal government represent a historic investment in working families in Pennsylvania and across the country – an investment that has the potential to make a transformative difference in the day-to-day circumstances of parents and parents. children, ”Acting Secretary Snead said. “While these payments are a reprieve while many still struggle with the pandemic and the economic crisis, they are not the only help available. Pennsylvania has support available for rental and assistance with utilities, health care, food and other needs, and I strongly encourage all families who are struggling to make ends meet, consider these resources as well. to help your family heal and come out of this protracted crisis.

Households may be eligible for assistance of up to 18 months to cover past due or future rent and / or utility payments through the Emergency Rent Assistance Program (ERAP). The amount of a household’s monthly rent or utility bills does not exclude eligibility, but the amount of ERAP assistance provided to a household is determined by the program administrators at the county level. Assistance may be provided to a tenant for future rent payments and for unpaid rent or utility arrears that have accrued as of March 13, 2020 on a residential rental property. Counties may choose to provide additional assistance to eligible households if funds remain available.

Renters or landlords can request this help, but a tenant does not need the landlord’s permission to request and use this help. This program is an opportunity to help calm circumstances for both parties, so landlords and tenants are strongly encouraged to work cooperatively to obtain this stabilizing assistance.

To be eligible for assistance, a household must be required to pay rent on a residential property and meet each of the following criteria:

  • One or more people in the household have been able to claim unemployment benefits, have had a decrease in income, have increased household costs or have experienced other financial difficulties during or due directly or indirectly to the COVID pandemic- 19; AND
  • One or more members of the household may present a risk of homelessness or housing instability; AND
  • The household has an income equal to or less than 80 percent of the region’s median income, which varies by county. Income limits by county are available on the DHS website. Resources (such as bank accounts and cars) are not relevant for ERAP eligibility.

Applicants must provide the following information: the personal information of the head of the family; income information for all household members aged 18 and over; rental lease and amount due; the name and contact details of the owner. If applying for utility assistance, applicants must provide information on utility spending and the utility provider.

About two-thirds of counties in Pennsylvania have partnered with DHS to make ERAP requests available to their residents online at The other counties have chosen to accept applications from residents of the county through their own application process. Residents of all counties can visit COMPASS for information on how to apply for an ERAP, including residents of counties who have developed their own process. If a person tries to apply through COMPASS but indicates that they reside in one of the 22 counties with their own application, they will receive information on how to apply, including a link to the county application if available.

DHS also administers programs that facilitate access to other basic needs such as health care coverage, food and groceries, and cash assistance for families. Pennsylvanians can apply for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and other public assistance programs online at us. Those who prefer to submit a paper request can print from the website, pick one up at a County Assistance Office (CAO), or request a request by phone at 1-800-692-7462 and mail or drop it off at their local office. CAD. You don’t need to know your own eligibility to apply.

“We have endured almost a year and a half of great losses and enormous uncertainties. Circumstances are improving, but no one should tackle it alone. Please ask for help and let us help you keep some security as we continue to navigate our recovery from COVID-19, ”Acting Secretary Snead said.

For more information on child tax credits, visit

For more information on DHS and the public assistance programs available in Pennsylvania, visit

CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA: Erin James – [email protected]

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