- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services announced Tuesday it’s ending a rule that prevented people with some minimal personal assets from collecting food stamps, saying it would save the state millions of dollars annually.

The asset test, which covered cash, stocks, personal property and other items, was begun about three years ago under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Income restrictions still apply.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration estimates the change will save about $3.5 million a year, reducing administrative costs and errors. Officials say errors in measuring assets disproportionately affected disabled and older recipients.

Food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, help about 1.8 million Pennsylvanians.

The Department of Human Services said it is ending the asset test by notifying the federal Food and Nutrition Service. The change will take effect Monday.

The asset test disqualified people under age 60 if they had more than $5,500 in assets, which did not include vehicles or a home, life insurance and pensions, family savings accounts, clothing, jewelry, household goods or burial plots. For households with elderly or disabled people, the limit was $9,000.

In establishing the asset test, the Corbett administration said its goal was to help ensure public aid went to those who needed it most.

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