Family Safety: Information About Your Benefits and Domestic Violence

Domestic violence happens when someone in your life harms you. Abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional. It includes:

  • Physically hurting you or your children
  • Threatening or trying to hurt you, your children or your property
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Sexually abusing your children
  • Controlling where you go and who you see
  • Not allowing you or your children to have food, clothing or medical care
  • Keeping you from going to work or school
  • Following or stalking you

If you are or have been a victim of domestic violence or are at risk of further violence, your caseworker can excuse you from requirements for cash assistance if domestic violence prevents you from complying. Sometimes people cannot safely follow welfare requirements because they fear that they or their children will be abused if they do so. These include:

  • Support cooperation
  • Time limits
  • Work (RESET)
  • Requirements that teen parents live at home
  • Other requirements on a case-by-case basis
  • Verification

If you need to be excused from welfare requirements because of domestic violence, tell your caseworker.

If you or your children are or have been victims of domestic violence, or are at risk of further violence, your caseworker can:

  • Talk to you if you want to talk. You can ask to talk in private. Your caseworker and the staff will keep your personal information confidential. However, the law says that the Department of Human Services must report child abuse to the Children and Youth Agency.
  • Help you find local programs where you can get counseling, safety planning, shelter, legal services and other help.
  • Help you understand the rules for applying for cash assistance, and how they affect you if you apply. Certain cash assistance requirements may be waived based upon domestic violence.

For more information about crisis intervention, counseling, accompaniment to police, medical and court facilities, temporary emergency shelter, and prevention and education programs, call:

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence

1-800-932-4632 (in PA)
303-839-1852 (National)