FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) is reminding Pennsylvanians that while all county assistance offices (CAOs) statewide remain closed to the public, online services remain available.
CAOs in counties moving to the yellow phase will reopen following adjustments to facilities necessary to keep staff and clients safe. Pennsylvanians are encouraged to use DHS’ online applications and resources to apply for benefits or submit paperwork as necessary.
“DHS is continuing to connect eligible Pennsylvanians to the programs they need through our online services. No one should forego these services if they need them, and anyone who is struggling to make ends meet or needs assistance should know that help is available,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “While our CAOs are still closed to the public, we are still receiving and processing applications for our public assistance programs. Clients should take advantage of online resources like COMPASS and the myCOMPASS PA mobile app as counties begin to reopen to mitigate risk while we continue to face the threat of COVID-19.”
The following key services can be accessed online through COMPASS and the myCOMPASS PA mobile app without going into the CAO:
- Apply for Medical Assistance, cash assistance, SNAP or LIHEAP (only on COMPASS)
- Submit benefit renewal information
- Review benefits and case record information
- Report a change in case information
- Upload verification documents
DHS administers public assistance programs that helps Pennsylvanians maintain access to health care, food, and other essential needs when people need extra help and during periods of economic uncertainty like what we currently face. Applications for benefits and renewals can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. Eligibility determinations, application processing, and benefit issuance will continue for Pennsylvanians in all counties while the CAOs are closed to the public. Clients who prefer to submit paper documentation can mail documents to their local CAO or leave documents in a CAO’s secure drop box, if available.
Clients in Philadelphia with questions, information to report about their case, or who need a paper application mailed to them should call the Philadelphia Customer Service Center at 215-560-7226. Clients in all other counties can call the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930. Call volumes and wait times may be higher than usual, and we appreciate the public’s patience with the dedicated commonwealth employees working to assist clients under stressful circumstances.
DHS is continuing to process applications for SNAP throughout the public health crisis. All applications are reviewed for expedited service which can be issued in five days for eligible applicants. EBT payments are still scheduled to occur during the closure and activated EBT cards can still be used as usual at ATMs and in stores at point-of-sale machines if the client has a balance. Balance and transaction inquiries as well as EBT card replacement can be requested from DHS’s EBT contractor, Conduent, at 888-328-7366.
For Medicaid, contact the Pennsylvania Consumer Service Center at 1-866-550-4355 to apply over the phone. Pennsylvanians can also complete semi-annual renewals and check their benefit status through the myCOMPASS PA mobile app. Managed Care Organizations (MCO) providing Medicaid coverage will be available to address claims and coverage issues with clients, and Medicaid Access cards can still be used at participating medical facilities to obtain care.
Guidance to DHS providers related to COVID-19 is available here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James, firstname.lastname@example.org
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