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05/11/2021 08:51 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=35142
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 22, 2021 01:28 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller and Rep. Sara Innamorato
To: All House members
Subject: Remote eWIC Re-loading Pilot Program for Families Receiving WIC
 
In Pennsylvania, more than 1 in 4 families face food insecurity, with Black and Latino families disproportionately feeling the devastating effects of poverty and hunger. Pennsylvania is just one of nine states that continues to use an offline EBT system, and in 2021, it is time to fully modernize the way we serve low-income Pennsylvanians and address any limitations or barriers that stand in the way of offering equitable access to public assistance. For those without access to reliable and safe transportation or the flexibility to take time from work, offline re-loading is a burdensome hoop that WIC recipients are forced to jump through.
 
Currently, despite making a recent change in 2019 to utilize re-loadable plastic cards to replenish WIC funds, WIC recipients must still report in-person to renew their food benefits. In the age of a global pandemic, this is a severe injustice served to those who rely on these benefits yet are placed in precarious situations to access them. This bill would seek to establish the Remote eWIC Re-loading Pilot Program within the Department of Health to serve, at a minimum, counties of the first and second classes for two years. At the close of the program, the department would be responsible for publishing and delivering a comprehensive report to the General Assembly detailing the effectiveness of the program to allow the legislature to act appropriately to ensure a continuum of remote services if success is reported.
 
Until we can extend a more convenient and safer option that eliminates the need for families who are already juggling the chronic strain of poverty to report in-person to receive modest assistance to simply put food on the table, we will continue to punish low-income Pennsylvanians who need help.
 
Please consider supporting this legislation to simplify and streamline the process for these vulnerable Pennsylvanians. Please see the attached draft language.
 

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Introduced as HB992