Everything you need to know


Did you know your ACCESS Card can give you entry to many entertainment places at a low cost? Beyond access to food stamps and medical assistance, you can use your card to get into more than 60 museums, gardens, and attractions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware for only $2.

Since the pandemic, the number of Pennsylvanians in need of public benefits has increased — with over 3.1 million people enrolled in Medicaid, and more than 1.8 million people in SNAP. But not everyone knows about all the cultural benefits that come with the card.

If you don’t qualify or aren’t enrolled in benefits, you may still be able to get this deal. In January 2020, the nonprofit Art-Reach expanded the cultural discount to all people with disabilities through the introduction of an Art-Reach ACCESS card.

Both cards get you $2 access to museums, theaters, and gardens throughout the Philadelphia region. Neither discount gives you access to special exhibits or events, and you can’t mix it with any other group rates.

Key takeaways

  • You can get into many museums, theaters, and gardens for $2 admission if you have a an ACCESS Card or Art-Reach ACCESS Card.
  • The program includes 60 places in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
  • You can bring up to three guests for the discounted rate, even if they do not have their own cards. 
  • You can get an Art-Reach ACCESS Card if you live in Pennsylvania and identify as someone with a disability. You do not need a doctor’s note.

Here is everything you need to know about getting an ACCESS or Art-Reach ACCESS card, and all of the museum discounts that come with it.

ACCESS cards are meant for low-income Pennsylvanians, with or without disabilities, who currently have a state Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. You don’t need to fill out a separate application: As long as you renew your benefits you will have access to lower-priced museum tickets.

However, since this is a state benefit, you might only get the discount at places inside PA. People from New Jersey, Delaware, or any other state, can’t use their states’ ACCESS Cards to get the discount in Pennsylvania.

Art-Reach ACCESS cards are specifically for people with disabilities since many people with disabilities don’t qualify for state benefits. This card doesn’t grant any EBT benefits, but it does offer you the cultural discount, and you don’t need to live in Pennsylvania to request it.

If you have a disability, fill out the online application and pay the $75 fee (which can’t be paid with EBT funds). You need to renew the card every year, but it gives you discounted tickets to participating arts spaces in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.

If you have an ACCESS card, you don’t need to apply for an Art-Reach ACCESS card.

“Art is a human right, and people shouldn’t have to worry about how much it costs to actually go,” said Art-Reach deputy director Charlie Miller. “As long as you identify as having a disability you qualify for the program,” he adds.

Folks who have any of the following disabilities are able to apply:

  • Hearing disability: Deaf or hard of hearing people.

  • Vision disability: Blind people or folks who have low vision that can’t be corrected by glasses.

  • Cognitive, intellectual, developmental disability: If because of a physical, mental, or emotional diagnosis, you have difficulty remembering things, focusing, making decisions, controlling your body, or experiencing intensifying sensitivity to unpredictable environments.

  • Physical disability: For people who have a hard time walking or climbing stairs. Maybe you use a mobility device to move around or have limited use of your arms or legs.

  • PCA user: Folks with a Personal Care Attendant (PCA), who need assistance for bathing, eating, getting dressed, visiting locations, or traveling, fall in this category.

  • Chronic illness: If you have a chronic illness, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, HIV, or any other illness that impacts you long-term.

However, Miller said that “every disability counts,” including communication disorders such as speech impediments. They don’t follow HIPAA regulations, so you don’t have to provide a doctor’s note or any kind of evidence to qualify for the discount. As long as you identify as having a disability you can apply. And you don’t have to disclose your type of disability during the application process.

Art-Reach is not worried about people taking advantage of the discount. “There is a greater need than what we actually have,” said Miller. Philadelphia has the highest disability rate of any large city. 12% of people younger than 65 have a disability in Philadelphia; in other cities, the range is between 5.1% to 7.9%

Once you apply, it takes seven to 10 business days to get the card. Starting in July 2022, the program is moving to a digital card, so you will get your card via email.

Whether you have a Pennsylvania ACCESS card or the Art-Reach ACCESS card, you can go to more than 60 places in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware for $2 per visit. As long as you pay for your discounted ticket, there are no restrictions on how many times you visit a place. EBT funds can’t be used to pay this fee.

With both types of ACCESS cards, you can always bring along up to three guests, which can include dependents, family, or friends.

If you require special accommodations due to disability, Art-Reach recommends you contact the attraction before visiting to see if they can assist you. Most places offer accessible entrances and restrooms, sign language interpretation, sensory-friendly environments, accommodations for people in wheelchairs or walkers, and, in some cases, free entrance for personal care aides.

You can get tickets for museums and gardens on the spot, but for tickets to a theater performance, Art-Reach advises contacting the theater’s box office to reserve passes ahead of time.

Here is the full list of participating museums, theaters, and gardens:

Help make this guide better
See something missing? If you spot an error or omission in any of our guides, please let us know by emailing us at [email protected]


Source link