March 20, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) released guidance for its employment and training (E&T) programs in coordination with Governor Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19. Because closure of non-essential services will affect program operations, people participating in employment and training programs to meet a work participation requirement should participate remotely or be excused for the period that E&T programs are unable to operate.
“The health and safety of our clients is our number one priority, so to that end we are encouraging people who feel ill, including people who are in our employment and training programs, to stay home. We will work with you to determine how to meet your E&T requirements and needs,” said Secretary Teresa Miller. “No one should fear losing their benefits due to circumstances beyond their control, and we are working with our E&T providers to excuse program participants during this period.”
No sanctions associated with COVID-19 should take place. If a program is closed, participants will remain enrolled in the program until it reopens. E&T providers have been instructed to be flexible and offer, to the extent possible, remote additives to keep individuals actively engaged.
Individuals should not physically bring anything verifying their employment hours to their local county assistance offices (CAOs), which will be closed to the public until April 1 at the earliest. MyCOMPASS PA, the mobile app for benefits issued by the CAO, can be used by participants to send in verifications. Additionally, forms can be faxed/emailed/mailed directly to providers.
Visit the PA Department of Health’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
Guidance to DHS providers related to COVID-19 is available here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James, 717-425-7606