Pennsylvania County Assistance Offices may be able to give families some money to get by while they can’t work because of the coronavirus crisis. Instead of getting ongoing cash assistance, families temporarily out of work may be able to get “diversion” payments. Diversion payments are one, two, or three months’ worth of regular cash assistance, paid all at once. The amount you get depends on how long you will need help before you start working again.
You might qualify if:
- You have children living with you, or you are pregnant.
- You have a recent work history and you expect to work again when the crisis is over.
- Your family has less monthly income now than the maximum monthly cash assistance payment (see chart). SSI income and some child support do not count, but all other income counts.
- You have less than $1,000 in savings, including retirement savings.
How to apply:
- Apply for cash assistance online
- Write in the comments section that recently lost your job because of the coronavirus crisis and you want a diversion payment.
- Be prepared to explain your situation during a phone interview.
- You will be asked to provide proof of your assets and maybe proof of your former job. If you cannot get these, explain why during the interview and ask for help.
Why might diversion payments be better than ongoing cash assistance?
- You will not have to pursue child support against your child’s other parent.
- You will not have to comply with work requirements.
The diversion program has never been used in a situation like this before, so we do not know for sure how the County Assistance Offices will handle these applications. We cannot say how
many months’ worth of diversion payments they might give you.