Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Pennsylvania

Census data tells us that 13% of Pennsylvania households live in poverty. In reality, even more households don’t have the income they need to reach self-sufficiency. One in four Pennsylvania households – over 846,000 – lack enough income to cover just the necessities.

Since 1997, PathWays PA has worked with Dr. Diana Pearce and the University of Washington to calculate The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania. Over the last 23 years, The Self-Sufficiency Standard of Pennsylvania has documented the continuing increase in the real cost of living, illuminating the economic crunch experienced by so many families today.

Since 2010, PathWays PA and the University of Washington have also issued three versions of the Overlooked and Undercounted report, which looks at the number of households living above and below self-sufficiency.

You can now use the interactive materials below to find out what it takes to be self-sufficient in your county.
Click here to read the 2020 Overlooked and Un…

2020-2021 Governor's Budget for Pennsylvania Released

Governor Wolf presented his sixth budget today with a focus on education, supporting workers and the workforce, and reducing gun violence.

Overall, the budget increases spending to $36 billion compared to last year. Governor Wolf also proposed a higher minimum wage (as he did last year), raising the current rate of $7.25/hour to $12/hour by July and then increasing the wage over time until it reaches $15 in 2026. The last time the minimum wage increased in Pennsylvania was when the federal government increased the wage in 2009.

Here are some of the articles we've been reading on the budget:

Highlights of the proposed 2020-21 Pennsylvania budgetPa. Governor’s Budget Pushes for Addressing Asbestos in Schools, College Debt AidPa. budget: Another year of flat funding for public libraries lands them in ‘Loser’ listGovernor Wolf Urges Legislature to Tackle Gun Violence, Student Debt, Toxic Schools

Protect Eligibility for Disability Benefits

Last year, the Social Security Administration stated that it wants to change eligibility rules for disability benefits.

Under the proposal, SSA would add 2.6 million eligibility reviews in the next ten years. They would also establish a new eligibility category. Currently, when someone qualifies for disability, they end up in one of three categories:  Medical improvement expected (reviewed every 6-18 months)Medical improvement not expected (reviewed every 5-7 years)Medical improvement possible (reviewed every 3 years) The Social Security Administration proposes adding a new category, "medical improvement likely," which is expected to include 4.4 million recipients. Many of these recipients will be children and people aged 50-65 with poor health and no income. If placed in this category, people will get reviews every two years.
Navigating the disability process, including reviews, is already challenging. The process can take 2-3 years in some cases, and people often have to app…

Updated ways to support immigrant and refugee families

As we reach the holiday season, we hope you will take some time to reach out to Congress in support of other families in need.

Over the past year, we've heard reports of horrific conditions in shelters where unaccompanied children were held.. In August 2019, the government announced they had no plans to give the flu shot at border detention camps - despite the deaths of at least three children from the flu while in custody. In October, we learned that 1500+ additional migrant children were separated at the border in the United States. 207 of the children were under the age of 5. We've now reached a record number of children detained, plus an over 50% increase in the number of pregnant women detained.

Even when they aren't separated from their children, whole families remain in detention, with the Administration currently appealing a decision that would enforce a 20-day time limit on family detentions. This type of long-term detention is shown to lead to stress and long-ter…

Supporting PathWays PA throughout the year

As we get to the end of the year, many individuals and companies are looking for ways to give back to their communities. Here are some ways you can help PathWays PA for the holidays or throughout the year!
Donations: You can help to end poverty, homelessness, and abuse by making a donation! The support you provide will help the most vulnerable women, children, teens, and families. Visit to donate or text "PathWaysPA" to 521-82.

Donate items: We also offer ways to donate material items. To see what our agency needs that is available on Amazon, check out our general wish list or our Welcome Kits lists for moms, children, and babies.

Volunteering: PathWays PA has an ongoing need for volunteers. Giving your time is a great way to help families in your own community. Visit to see what you can do.

Shopping: Every time you buy on Amazon via AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate .5% of your total purchase to PathWays PA! Visit and search for Pat…

Keep Families Together: Congress Needs to Stop Family Separation

Over the past year, we've heard reports of horrific conditions in shelters where unaccompanied children were held.. In October, we learned that 1500+ additional migrant children were separated at the border in the United States. 207 of the children were under the age of 5.

Now, the AP is reporting that the United States held a record number of migrant children in custody in 2019. According to the AP,

"The nearly 70,000 migrant children who were held in government custody this year — up 42 percent in fiscal year 2019 from 2018 — spent more time in shelters and away from their families than in prior years."

We must work with Congress now to stop family separations and family detentions, which are leading to immediate and long-term trauma for children. Please take action today to help end this practice.

Take Action:

Call your Senator and Representative at 202-224-3121 and ask them to stop family separationUse this link from Families Belong Together to contact CongressAttend a …

Support PathWays PA with "Bags 4 My Cause" this December

We are so excited to share that PathWays PA has been selected to be a part of the GIANT Bags 4 My Cause Program, which is designed to make it easy for customers to contribute to their local community while supporting the environment.

For the month of December, each time a $2.50 reusable Bags 4 My Cause Bag is purchased at the GIANT located at 950 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, PA, $1 will be donated to PathWays PA (unless the customer chooses otherwise). This is a great way to raise awareness, support the environment and fundraise for our cause.

If you shop at GIANT, please support PathWays PA in December by purchasing a Bag 4 My Cause! And if you know someone who shops there, please share this information.

To learn more about this program, please visit