Cash-assistance rejections rise in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — People applying for federal cash-assistance benefits in Pennsylvania are getting rejected at a higher rate, and some advocates for the poor blame a two-year-old state law.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that state public welfare agency officials say they don’t know what caused the increase.

Beginning in July 2012, state law required applicants to apply to at least three jobs a week, including while their application was being processed. Before that, an applicant had been required to fulfill the work requirement after being approved for assistance.

Now, about 75 percent of applicants or more are turned down every month. Before the change, it was around 60 percent.

Advocates for the poor say they’re concerned that caseworkers aren’t properly explaining the requirement or taking people’s hardships into consideration.

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