Residents of Berks County can turn to the Department of Public Welfare for assistance. The government provides the very low income and working poor with applications to public aid, both state and federal resources. Everything from SNAP food stamps to heating bill help from LIHEAP and weatherization is offered, as well as many other services.
Operating both year round and during the winter, the LIHEAP program help with paying heating and gas bills. Low income households will be provided a grant for their bills, with a focus on helping during the winter months. There is both recurring, standard component and public funds are also used for addressing a crisis situation, and this may be when a family is faced with a disconnection.
Very low income families in Berks County, or those on public benefits, may qualify for Burial, Funeral and Cremation Assistance. It is for residents that receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash aid such as TANF, and the indigent. A number of funeral costs can be paid for.
More general, public or cash assistance is for the very low income and/or disabled. There are a few options in Berks County, and they include SSDI, TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Refugee program, State Blind Pension Program, and others. The COMPASS website can provide more details, and the funds can be used for paying for basic needs, such as rent, food, or even medical costs.
Low cost medical care, including some basic dental coverage, is available as part of Medicaid. The county will process applications for this program, and it can help the poor with paying their health care bills. There is also some coverage for prescription medications as well as dental care and checkups. Many doctors and hospitals in Berks County accept Medicaid insurance as a form of payment.
Rental and security deposit help is part of the state of Pennsylvania Homeless Assistance Programs. The goal is to stop evictions in Berks County, or if that can’t be done, then the homeless are provided self-sufficiency and then assistance in moving into a new, low income apartment. There are several components to this, and they include the following.
Emergency grants as a form of financial aid can be used for back rent, utility bills, mortgage payments, and also utility bills. This will also be combined with mediation and negotiation from Department of Health and Humans Services staff with the landlord as part of Homeless Assistance Program.
Case Management was created as a form of this public aid in Berks County. It will address the cause of the homelessness, and identifies needs and the reasons why someone became homeless. It touches upon home management, budgeting, life skills, job training or preparation, and referral to mental health care, if needed.
Transitional and emergency shelter is offered in Berks County, including Bridge Housing. The goal is give families or single parents a place to stay while they move you from being homeless into permanent, low income housing. A minimal fee will be due for paying move in costs as well as rent, and the guest needs to be working.
Free legal aid is available as well as a form of public assistance. This is not a state administered program, but Berks County has information in firms and lawyers that offer this service. Everything from eviction prevention to help in dealing with debts and consumer issues is offered, and call one or more of the following. PA Health Law Project, or PHLP, focuses on the disabled and seniors in Berks County. Pennsylvania Legal Services provides information and referrals to low income families to ensure they get representation.
Food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is the state’s main public benefit. Government vouchers are used to pay for food and groceries, and low income and working poor families can use it to provide for their families. SNAP can be used at grocery stores and retailers across Berks County, and it can pay for fruits, vegetables, holiday meals, and more.
Telephone Assistance is known as Lifeline. It provides a monthly discount on cell and home phone bills in Pennsylvania for very low income families, including senior citizens.
There are several disability programs in Berks County. Regardless of age and to some extent income, welfare resources and public aid can address various needs, some of which include the following. The state will arrange for limited In-home care, and also help the disabled find a job or enroll into vocational training.
There are several other public benefit and welfare programs available, and they include Assistive Technology, Domestic Violence Prevention or Housing, Health Care/Medical Assistance, Long Term Care Services, Programs for Persons with Disabilities, and more.
For more information, the Berks County Assistance Office is located at Reading State Office Building, 625 Cherry Street, Reading, Pennsylvania 19602-1188. For more information, dial 1-866-215-3912.
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