Pa. might ease earning restrictions on child care subsidies

 Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery, has co-sponsored a bill to eliminate the

Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery, has co-sponsored a bill to eliminate the "benefits cliff" for parents getting state aid to pay for child care. (AP file photo)

Pennsylvania lawmakers are moving to make it easier for thousands of working parents to earn more without jeopardizing subsidized child care.

 

House Bill 1164 would eliminate the “benefits cliff” for parents getting state aid to pay for child care.

Right now, parents completely lose that benefit as soon as they earn more than a certain amount above the federal poverty line.

Under the measure, the subsidy would instead be reduced slowly as earnings grow.

That way, it’s hoped parents won’t have to choose between a raise or more hours and low-cost child care.

“We don’t want to cut these families off. We want to assist and support these families. We believe what we’re doing is a compassionate approach,” said state Rep. Thomas Murt, R-Montgomery, who co-sponsored the bill with state Rep. Stephen Bloom, a Republican from Cumberland County.

Bloom called the measure an “exciting opportunity” that gives working parents the chance to become financially independent by advancing their careers.

“Without being penalized in a harsh way by the programs for doing the very thing we hoped they would do,” said Bloom.

It’s estimated that some 12,000 parents in Pennsylvania would directly benefit from the bill.

The House on Tuesday unanimously passed the measure.

The Pennsylvania Senate is expected to vote sometime this fall.

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