How the DHS 2022-23 Budget Will Help Pennsylvanians

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) serves more than 3 million people through the programs and services they administer. DHS exist so that all Pennsylvanians, no matter their circumstances, can meet their most essential needs and live with basic dignity. They strive every day to ensure their programs and services help people on a path to a better life, whatever that looks like for the DHS FY2022-2023 budget will support our fellow Pennsylvanians, from babies to seniors.

The budget includes investments of federal and state funds to maintain and expand essential work and services and improve our operations while keeping an eye toward efficiency and innovation. View Governor Wolf’s 2022-2023 Executive Budget. View additional DHS budget information. Learn more about the budget process in Pennsylvania.

DHS Budget Highlights 2022-2023

Behavioral Health Budget Highlights

Governor Wolf’s 2022-23 budget allows DHS and our partners to continue our efforts to protect, uplift, and empower people in difficult and vulnerable positions to achieve good health and a better life. We can make progress toward this by investing in essential needs and access to potentially life-saving behavioral health care. These efforts and progress are supported in the 2022-2023 budget by:

Establishment of a Behavioral Health Commission for Adult Mental Health. The Commission will recommend how a one-time, $100 million investment of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in behavioral health will be infused into commonwealth communities to address current mental health needs.

Allocation of $7.2 million for expansion of services at South Mountain Restoration Center to serve individuals with complex needs who require a skilled nursing level of care.

Children and Families Budget Highlights

Since taking office in 2015, Governor Wolf has consistently prioritized the health, safety, and investments in quality, accessible, and affordable child care for all Pennsylvania children. Every child must have the strong start in life that they deserve. The 2022-23 budget provides: 

A $15 million increase to expand evidence-based home visiting programs and family support services. The increase in state funds, combined with available federal funds, will serve close to 2,500 additional families in 2022-23.

$25 million to extend the Child Care Works (CCW) program eligibility criteria for families. Current CCW initial eligibility is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and exit is above 235 percent FPL. This new funding will allow families to retain CCW benefits as their income increases to the lesser of 300 percent FPL or 85 percent of the state median income.

An increase of $1.047 million to continue Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) evidence-based home visiting services for approximately 2,831 pregnant women and families. 

Health care Budget Highlights

A continuing goal of DHS is to serve individuals in the least restrictive setting possible. No matter their background, if there is a need for care, we must find an appropriate setting. Long-term living programs will receive $250 million through ARPA funding that will support critical service providers.

Elimination of the cycle rolls for managed care payments. The elimination of the hold will create a consistent flow of payments to primary contractors, enabling them to adjust their budgets in real time while maintaining adequate risk and contingency funds.

 Additional investments will be made for ambulance fee increases and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) arrearages.

Home and Community-Based Services Budget Highlights

Since taking office, Governor Wolf has made it a priority to invest in services and care that support people with disabilities to live, work, and thrive in their communities. DHS has expanded access to home and community-based services and invested in quality care across the systems of our service. The 2022-23 budget continues this progress by: 

Investing $18.8 million to provide home and community-based services to 832 Pennsylvanians with an intellectual disability or autism currently on the emergency waiting list for services. Since 2015, investments made in partnership with the General Assembly have allowed DHS to increase the number of Pennsylvanians receiving waiver services by more than 15 percent. 

Utility and Food Assistance Budget Highlights

Governor Wolf’s 2022-23 budget allows DHS and our partners to continue efforts to protect, uplift, and empower vulnerable Pennsylvanians. We will make progress toward this by investing in essential needs, including: 

Allocating additional ARPA funding to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help families with low incomes pay home utility bills through cash grants. These funds will become available after 90 percent of the current federal funding is spent. 

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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