Pennsylvania currently has one of the slowest food stamp application processing rates in the nation. As a result, it has been placed under corrective action by the federal government, but the excessive delays and unjustified benefit curtailment and denials – in not just food stamp benefit service but other public benefits – continue due to systemic problems in the Department of Public Welfare.
In 2013, we released Barriers to Benefits: Communication and Customer Service Problems in Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare . The report documents how DPW is failing to provide consumers with basic service at a level that is necessary for obtaining and maintaining critical benefits.
The report has inspired a campaign, starting with a public meeting in October 2013 at which Just Harvest and DPW clients presented the report findings to DPW Secretary Beverly Mackereth along with a list of specific demands and recommendations to improve DPW customer service.
If met, these recommendations will transform DPW into a government agency that can truly meet the needs of vulnerable Pennsylvanians while treating them with dignity and respect.
Below is the list of demands and the progress we have since made on each.