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Win for Low Income Residents of Personal Care Homes

Friday, October 16, 2009 General News J E 4
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Advocates Honor DPW and Legislators

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 9 Low-income Pennsylvanians living in personal care homes receive a personal needs allowance (PNA) from the State. Despite an increase in living expenses, this amount has not changed since 1993. Until now.

A recent policy statement issued by Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare (DPW), with support from Representatives Mundy and Marshall, allows individuals in personal care homes to keep more of their own money at no cost to the state.

For their efforts to increase the PNA, personal care home residents and advocates will thank Secretary Richman and Representative Mundy on Tuesday, March 10th from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., in the Capitol Building, Room 60 East Wing.

Despite an increase in living expenses, the PNA amount had not changed in sixteen years. Due to Medicare Part D, the expenses PCH residents must now cover with their PNA are significantly greater than they were in 1993. When the federal government recently raised the SSI benefit for each individual by $37, DPW issued a policy statement allowing individuals living in personal care homes to keep $25 of that money, bringing the total amount of the personal needs allowance to $85.

DPW's decision did not cost the state more than it currently spends; and personal care homes will not lose any money. This decision by Estelle Richman, DPW Secretary, was influenced by several lawmakers, notably Representatives Jim Marshall and Phyllis Mundy. "This decision will make a significant difference to more than 9,000 low-income Pennsylvanians," said Rachel Freund, policy advocate coordinator for PA Mental Health Consumers' Association.

"A lot of people went above and beyond to ensure that residents of personal care homes received more dollars for essentials," said Sue Walther, executive director of The Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania. "We are grateful to leaders like Mundy and Richman because they listened when constituents brought this important issue to their attention."

SOURCE Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania
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