By Dom Giordano
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dom Giordano spoke with Peter Zurflieh, an attorney for the Community Justice Project, Tuesday on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT. The Community Justice Project has voiced concerns over recent statistics that show Pennsylvania is denying about 75 percent of welfare applicants, about a 15 percent increase, on average, since prior to July 2012.
The main reason for the increase appears to be a new requirement forcing applicants to apply for three jobs a week, to remain eligible for state assistance. This requirement also begins with the date their application is submitted, not when they are approved.
Zurflieh believes a lack of communication about these conditions at the Department of Welfare is leading to too many individuals being declined for support.
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“There’s a suspicion that this pre-eligibility job search requirement is, at least in part, responsible for the increased rate of denials and it may have a lot to do how the requirement has been implemented. There are numerous exemptions from the requirement, but applicants are not being well informed about what those exemptions are.”
He thinks the conditions for public assistance in place before the job search rule was implemented were sufficient.
“There are already stringent work requirements that apply to people once they are authorized for the benefit, so it’s not like you get on assistance and nothing is expected of you. People are required to do a job search. They’re required to be engaged in activities for 20 or 30 hours a week, depending on family composition. So, the pre-eligibility job search is a little redundant.”