COVID-19 Resources for Pennsylvania

Last Updated August 14, 2020

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has information, including resources on testing locations as well as statewide notices from Governor Wolf.

Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania provides a list of resources and supports compiled by the Department of Health.

The Governor’s Office has issued a phased re-opening of the state. Currently, all but counties are in the green phase; however Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties have specific restrictions in place. Restrictions during the green phase include:

  • Prohibitions on gatherings of more than 250 people. Masks are required in businesses.Restaurants and bars can be open at 50% occupancy. Personal care services (e.g., hair salons and barbershops) can be open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only.Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities, and personal care services (e.g., spas and gyms) can be open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged. All entertainment (e.g., casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) can open at 50% of occupancy.Child care may open in compliance with guidance. Prison and hospital restrictions are determined by individual facilities. Telework is strongly encouraged.

While most counties are now in the “green phase,” the Governor could change which phase counties are in depending on the number of COVID-19 cases. It is important to monitor the state dashboard for changes.

Health-related resources

Behavioral health resources

  • Pennsylvania Statewide Support and Referral Hotline is available at 1-855-284-2494, For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.
  • The PA Crisis Text Line is available 24/7 by texting “PA” to 741741. Services are confidential and free.

Resources for people experiencing intimate partner violence or abuse

Resources for people who use drugs or are in recovery

People with families or friends in state prison

The Pennsylvania DOC has suspended all visits. Only staff, vendors and contractors will be allowed to enter any of the state prisons, pending the results of a screening. The DOC has begun video visitation in place of face-to-face visits.

The Pennsylvania Prison Society provides updated information on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania prisons, including frequently asked questions and disease tracking.

Childcare

Childcare centers can be founded on the COMPASS website. 

Education

All Pennsylvania schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year. The Pennsylvania Department of Education is providing regular updates on its website.

Public benefits and income supports

On May 8, the PA Department of Human Services announced a new program to provide emergency assistance to families who lost income due to COVID-19. This program is now extended through July 12 or until the funds run out.

  • Program eligibility is limited to families with a child under the age of 18 or a woman who is currently
    pregnant.
  • To qualify, families must have at least one person in the household who was employed as of March 11, 2020 and experienced an hour or wage reduction of at least 50 percent for two weeks or more or lost employment entirely due to the public health crisis.
  • Families must meet income limits of 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and have no more than $1,000 in a savings or checking account.
  • To apply visit Compass.

Pennsylvania residents can apply for cash assistance (TANF), Medicaid (MA), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or “food stamps”), and other benefits online through COMPASS or by calling 1-800-692-7462. The County Assistance Offices are closed to the public, but they are accepting applications online and by phone.

Some people and families may also qualify for temporary cash assistance through the TANF Diversion payment program.

Utilities

LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program

  • The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is accepting application between May 18, 2020 through August 31, 2020 for individuals who need assistance with paying utility bills. Types of assistance offered include:
    • Crisis Applications — The 2019-2020 Crisis maximum benefit has been increased to $800. Any LIHEAP Crisis-eligible household, including those that met the previous maximum of $600, would be eligible for a Crisis grant under this program.
    • Supplemental Benefits — Many households who received a LIHEAP Crisis payment during the regular LIHEAP season will receive a one-time issuance of $100. This payment will be sent to the vendor that received their most recent LIHEAP payment. Households who receive this issuance will be notified by mail. This $100 issuance will count towards the new maximum Crisis benefit amount for the household. This benefit will be issued automatically and no application is needed.
  • Visit Compass to apply for the crisis grant or paper applications are available online.

Women Infants and Children (WIC)

  • While Pennsylvania WIC offices are still open for business, some clinics are closed or have limited hours. Please call your clinic (1-800-WIC-WINS for information) for the most up-to-date information on clinic hours. Leave a message with your current phone number, and be patient, as it may take longer to return your call.
  • Certain items have been temporarily added to the food list due to a shortage in stores.

Unemployment compensation

If you lost your job due to COVID-19 you may be eligible for unemployment compensation You can file a claim for unemployment benefits online. Work search and work registration requirements are temporary waived for unemployment compensation claimants. You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if:

  • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19.
  • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19.
  • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19.
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts.

Work Search and Work Registration requirements for people currently receiving are temporarily waived for all unemployment compensation claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their unemployment compensation benefits.

Food assistance

Individuals and families who are out of work without pay and in need of food assistance may be eligible to receive food from a food pantry in Pennsylvania. To qualify for assistance, individuals must verbally complete a Self-Declaration of Need form and provide information on household size and weekly income.

The following resources provide information on locating food pantries and food banks:

Legal services resources

  • HELP: MLP’s partner organizations’ offices are currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions. Existing HELP: MLP clients in need of legal services can contact us at info@helpmlp.org.
  • PA Legal Aid Network (PLAN) providers have stopped accepting walk-in clients. You can apply for legal aid by telephone or online through the program serving your county. Locate your local legal aid office using the PLAN provider locator.
  • HIAS Pennsylvania provides legal representation to immigrants who meet their eligibility criteria. Call 215-832-0900 Wednesday 9:30am-12pm or Thursday 2pm-4pm to be included on their intake list.
  • Beginning on March 19, Pennsylvania courts are generally closed to the public through at least June 1,2020.
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court is operating, but with some changes. You can still file for bankruptcy. If you file, the automatic protection from your creditors will still apply, if needed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bankruptcy Court is only holding hearings by telephone. If you are in an active bankruptcy case and have a court hearing before April 1, you should contact your bankruptcy attorney immediately. If you have a court hearing before April 1 and you don’t have a lawyer, call the Bankruptcy Court for information on how to participate in the hearing by phone.
  • Evictions in the state of Pennsylvania have been stopped until July 10. Residents cannot be displaced or forced to leave. Residents are advised to continue to make monthly rent and mortgage payments to the extent possible.

Pennsylvania taxes

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is currently closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Even though the Revenue offices are closed, residents can submit questions through the Online Customer Service Center.
  • The deadline for filing your personal income taxes has been extended to July 15, 2020 in Pennsylvania matching the extended deadline for federal taxes.