Legal Challenge Brought Against Changes to Human Services Funding in PA

On October 1, 2012, the Disabilities Rights Network of Pennsylvania, Community Legal Services, and private co-counsel filed a legal challenge in Commonwealth Court against Act 80. Enacted by the General Assembly in June 2012, Act 80 eliminated General Assistance cash benefits – funds that tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians rely on to meet their everyday expenses.

In place of these benefits, Act 80 created the Pilot Block Grant Program, which allows 20 counties to reallocate their already-stretched-thin funds for human services, such as mental health and intellectual disability services, to other social services. According to the lawsuit, Act 80 violates Pennsylvania’s Constitution for several reasons, including the fact that it combines several discrete subjects, and it authorizes DPW and the counties to spend funds differently from how they were appropriated. In addition, the lawsuit asserts that the implementation of the Pilot Grant Program violates the Commonwealth Documents Act because there were no written standards regarding its implementation.

Petitioners are seeking a preliminary injunction of Act 80. Read more here.