Human Services update during COVID-19 pandemic

The Department of Human Services held a Tuesday briefing to answer questions related to Child Care Services and Human Service Benefits. I’m passing along the information I received from them.

This information has been updated as of Wednesday, March 18.

  • People will not be cut off from benefits because they do not reapply or meet employment and training requirements during the emergency declaration period.
  • County Assistance Offices will still process applications and work, but these offices will be closed to the public.
  • Telemedicine is being encouraged for all medically necessary healthcare services. This includes early intervention services. More information and links to the guidance is below.
  • Older Adult Day Facilities are closed. Community Support Participation may be provided in homes.
  • The office of Development Programs will still conduct abuse and neglect investigations, investigate complaints about facilities, and help support organizations remotely.
  • Eligibility for food assistance via SNAP has been extended for three months. The Department is working on delaying federal rules that would limit access.
  • Childcare centers should close. However, small group and family in-home childcare can stay open.
  • Childcare centers that serve families that must continue to go to work - for example emergency service personnel and health care professionals - may apply for an exemption to stay open. The email to apply for that exemption is: RA-PWDRACERT@pa.gov

Telemedicine:

Telemedicine is a preferred method for health care during this emergency. Insurers and governments, including Medicaid and Medicare, are waiving many regulations that limit access. Patients may be able to receive services using their own phones from their homes.

Specific guidance for Pennsylvania's Medicaid program can be found here and here.