The Pennsylvania departments of Aging and Human Services are reminding Pennsylvanians who serve as caregivers for either a family member or a close friend that there are resources available to help them as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.
“Family caregiving has many faces in Pennsylvania. They are adults taking care of aging parents or other relatives, grandparents raising grandchildren, or a non-relative caregiver, such as a close family friend, raising a child whose parents cannot care for them,” said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres.
“No matter whom they are caring for, all caregivers may need some type of support, whether it’s emotional, financial, or legal. With the COVID-19 emergency, the need for such assistance may even be greater.”
PDA offers resources for caregivers of adults and children. It oversees the Caregiver Support Program (aging.pa.gov/aging-services/caregiver-support), which helps ease the stresses of caregiving.
In September, the PDA and DHS jointly announced the launching of PA KinConnector (kinconnector.org), a resource designed to help kinship care families connect to services and supports that can help children and their caregivers.
KinConnector also runs a helpline that can be reached by calling (866) KIN-2111 and supports callers needing assistance in English and Spanish.
Last year, DHS launched the statewide Support & Referral Helpline, a free resource staffed by skilled and compassionate caseworkers available to counsel Pennsylvanians struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions.
The helpline caseworkers can help counsel and refer you to community-based resources that can further help to meet individual needs. Pennsylvanians can contact the statewide Support and Referral Helpline at (855) 284-2494. For TTY, dial (724) 631-5600.
Pennsylvanians can also apply for programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other public-assistance programs online at compass.state.pa.us.
Those who prefer to submit paper applications can print from the website or request an application by phone at (800) 692-7462 and mail it to their local County Assistance Office or place it in a CAO’s secure drop box, if available. Dropping applications off at a CAO using the drop box can help avoid an application delay due to postal service delays.
While CAOs remain closed to the public, work processing applications, determining eligibility, and issuing benefits continues.
For more information on resources available for kinship families and grandparents raising grandchildren, visit dhs.pa.gov.
Learn more about other programs offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging at aging.pa.gov.