‘Asset Test’ Returns for Pennsylvania Welfare Recipients

May 1, 2012

People renewing their application for food stamps or getting the benefit for the first time in Pennsylvania will have to report certain assets, like their savings accounts and second vehicles.

The asset test once again takes effect Tuesday, about four years after it was abolished under the Rendell administration.

Department of Public Welfare spokeswoman Anne Bale said Pennsylvanians hoping to enroll in the state's food assistance program will need to provide data on their various assets.

"Cash on hand, their checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, savings certificates, and you know, kind of looking at whether they have a second vehicle," said Bale.

The new rules won't mean more paperwork for everyone who gets assistance, because many are enrolled in other welfare programs that come with asset tests.

But Julie Zaebst of the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger said the new requirements will mean additional paperwork for the remaining 450,000 households.

"We do think this is a significant, new burden on those 450-thousand households, and a significant, new burden on the staff that are having to implement the asset test at the welfare offices," said Zaebst.

People with more than $5,500 saved will not qualify for food assistance. For seniors and the disabled, the upper limit is $9,000.

A second vehicle worth more than about $4,600 would count toward the food stamp recipient's assets.