Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool (OTBET)

The Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool (OTBET), an online tool available to all Pennsylvanians, can tell you if you qualify for certain public benefits and link you to important state programs.

The Self Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania (2010-2011) demonstrates that a single adult with one school-aged child needs to earn between $12.98 and $24.55 per hour to be economically self sufficient. For an adult with a child facing unemployment, this reality can be daunting. Work supports and public benefits can reduce this amount, and during periods of unemployment they can play a crucial role in helping a family maintain financial stability.

Using the Online Training and Benefits Eligibility Tool (OTBET), families now have the opportunity to determine what income they need to support themselves and what public benefits are available for their use. The OTBET is an easy to use tool that determines eligibility for multiple programs including food stamps (SNAP), child care assistance, and CHIP. Families can print out their eligibility information and use it when applying for services or tracking their income needs. Additionally, the OTBET provides links to the COMPASS system (where families can apply for benefits), CareerLink, and other important services.

Who can use the OTBET?

You can use the OTBET for yourself or as an advocate, service provider, client, employer, policy-maker, or researcher. Just follow the steps below:
  1. To begin, use the drop-down menus and boxes to show whether you are using the OTBET for yourself, a family member, a client, or as a researcher, the county you live in, and the name of the family. **PathWays PA does not save any data except the county and user-type chosen.**
  2. Continue by adding information about your family size, ages of family members, and employment data.
  3. Add additional income and expenses.
  4. Answer a few more questions about any services you may currently use.
  5. Click “Calculate Final Report” to get your results! If you would like to test eligibility for services, click on the button next to that service to learn more.
  6. You can now print your information, go back and recalculate information, or move on to see other links.

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