June 4, 2013
The Corbett administration doesn't seem to care that it has acquired a reputation for callous treatment of poor people. If it cared, it wouldn't have failed to process federal energy assistance applications and risk thousands of low-income customers having to pay reconnection fees through no fault of their own. The state Department of Public Welfare is responsible for processing applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP),...
June 1, 2013 |
Nearly 14,000 low-income Philadelphia families are waiting for the state to process their claims for federal home-energy assistance - a repeat of last year's backlog that state officials had promised would not happen again. About 8,000 of the families have been waiting for more than 90 days. Because the payments are late, some people face a shutoff of their gas and electricity. Even if the bills eventually get paid, those whose utilities are turned off may be compelled to pay reconnection fees on top of the initial bills, a situation that could be catastrophic for poor people unable to meet even basic needs, advocates say. "People are going to be without hot water and a stove," said Lance Haver, director of the city Office of Consumer Affairs.
April 5, 2013
BY APRIL, most of us are happy to be viewing winter weather in the rearview mirror. But there are thousands in the city who dread April more than the deep freeze of February, because that's when the moratorium on utility shutoffs expires. That means that PGW and Peco are now allowed to shut you off if you haven't been able to keep up on your utility bills. This is a cold drama that gets played out every year. But some years are harder than others, and this past winter has seen not only higher utility prices coupled with a colder winter, but also a program that helps low-income people with heating bills has a backlog of applications only slightly smaller than the huge backlog of last year.
March 26, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Although the number of pending veterans' disability claims keep soaring, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on Sunday said he's committed to ending the backlog in 2015 by replacing paper with electronic records. Veterans receive disability compensation for injuries or illness incurred during their active military service. About 600,000 claims, or 70 percent, are considered backlogged. The number of claims pending for more than 125 days has nearly quadrupled under Shinseki's watch.
October 14, 2012 |
GOOD-GOVERNMENT group the Committee of Seventy is concerned about a backlog of voter-registration applications in the City Commission's Office ahead of the Nov. 6 presidential election. Seventy's president, Zack Stalberg, wrote to city officials that it appears that the number of unprocessed registrations may exceed 20,000, "raising the possibility that potential voters will not be registered - or know whether they are registered - in time to vote on Election Day. " "We got calls from a number of voters who were concerned they didn't get their voter registration yet," said Ellen Kaplan, policy director for the Committee of Seventy, adding that it would like to help by either recruiting volunteers to assist commission staff or urging the Commissioners to hire temporary workers that can help tackle the backlog.
October 3, 2012 |
TRENTON - New Jersey would have to start paying unemployment to people who appeal denials but cannot get answers to them within eight weeks under a bill advanced Monday by a state Senate committee. The bill, which advanced on a 3-0 vote with two abstentions by the Labor Committee, is intended to push the Department of Labor to deal with appeals that have been piling up as the number of unemployed remains high and the state denies a larger portion of claims. On Monday, state Department of Labor Department and Workforce Development officials told the committee that it has structural changes to deal with reducing the backlog.
March 28, 2012
FROM THOSE wonderful workers at the state Department of Public Welfare - the ones who will soon have to start verifying the assets of up to 1.8 million recipients of food stamps in the state - comes a massive backlog of applications for heating assistance that could lead to utility shut-offs for tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians as soon as next week. Lawyers from Community Legal Services sent a letter Tuesday to the Public Utility Commission asking that utility customers who filed for help from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
March 12, 2012 |
THE POLICE Advisory Commission is often described as a toothless, civilian-run police oversight board without the authority to do anything. The PAC is only able to make recommendations to the Police Department in response to citizen complaints - something it's done just 21 times since 1994. In January, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey accepted a recommendation that officers brush up on guidelines about obtaining search warrants after two cops illegally entered a Frankford house in 2010.
March 9, 2012 |
Amid complaints from corporate defense lawyers about the fairness of Philadelphia's civil justice system, judicial leaders have begun to make changes they say will reduce a backlog of cases and improve the overall functioning of the courts. The changes, put forth quietly in an order from Common Pleas Court Judge John Herron, focus in large measure on what he said was an overflow of asbestos lawsuits by out-of-state lawyers. But they also go well beyond asbestos litigation and address many of the concerns defense lawyers have raised.