|Veterans: Applying for Benefits Should Never Come with a Fee
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) reminds veterans and their dependents that they should never have to pay for help to apply for veterans’ benefits.
Under both state and federal law, accredited veterans service organizations were authorized to provide free advice and assistance to veterans as they apply for veterans’ benefits.
These veteran service officers are experienced, trained professionals who provide veterans with the best advice and assistance available at no cost.
Accredited veteran service officers provide veterans and their dependents free assistance to identify, determine eligibility for and apply for a wide range of benefits on the local, state and federal levels.
To locate your county director of veterans affairs or for more information on other veterans service organizations and to find out more about veterans benefits, visit the DMVA online at dmva.pa.gov and click on Veterans Affairs.
I had the pleasure of presenting a House citation to Boy Scout Troop 14 of Williamsport on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary. Some long-time members and supporters were in attendance.
PennDOT, Safety Partners to Hold Child Safety Seat Check and Collection Event in Old Lycoming Township
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Highway Safety Network, Safe Kids Lycoming County Partner through the Lycoming Health Improvement Coalition and the Old Lycoming Township Volunteer Fire Company will host a child safety seat inspection and used seat collection on Tuesday, May 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Old Lycoming Township fire hall.
As part of a statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign that runs through Sunday, June 3, the safety seat check will aim to reduce crash injuries and fatalities in children. PennDOT urges motorists of all ages to wear their seat belt.
Parents and guardians of children 8 years old and under can have their child safety seat inspected by certified technicians. Each inspection requires approximately 30 minutes ensuring safe installation, though infant seats may take extra time. Participants are reminded to bring their child, safety seats, vehicle manuals and safety seat manuals (if available).
The collection will aim to remove unsafe seats from the community.
For more information on car seat or seat belt safety visit penndot.gov/safety or safekids.org.
Taking Care of New, Expectant Moms
A new law to take effect soon will help improve health outcomes for expectant and new mothers by establishing a Maternal Mortality Review Committee within the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
In the United States, more women die from pregnancy complications than in any other developed country. Causes of death for expectant mothers include preventable conditions like preeclampsia and obstetric hemorrhage. Mental health conditions, including suicide and overdose, are also becoming the leading cause of maternal mortality in a number of states.
A Maternal Mortality Review Committee will better identify pregnancy-related deaths, oversee the review of these deaths, recommend actions to help prevent future deaths and publish review results. This information will help clinicians and public health professionals better understand circumstances surrounding pregnancy-related deaths and enable them to take appropriate actions to prevent them. No cost will be associated with the committee since the department can absorb any administrative costs within its existing funding.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) monitors maternal mortality on a national level. Pennsylvania now becomes the 33rd state to have maternal mortality review committees either in operation or in development.
In states where such committees already exist, there has been a significant decline in maternal mortality, as well as improvements in infant health with more babies making it to full term.
The REACH Foundation presented funds for St. John Neumann Regional Academy in Williamsport. This is part of the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. I was pleased to take part in the announcement and read to kindergarten students there.
Are You Owed Unclaimed Property?
The Pennsylvania Treasury Department is currently holding more than $3.2 billion in unclaimed property, with about one in 10 residents eligible to recoup that property.
Unclaimed property is any financial asset that has been left inactive by the owner for a period of three years or more. The most common kinds of unclaimed property include savings and checking accounts, uncashed checks, unclaimed insurance benefits and items abandoned in forgotten safe deposit boxes. The amounts can range from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars.
The Treasury is required to advertise the names and addresses of unclaimed property owners in their last known county of residence, but only if the property is valued in excess of $250. The names and addresses of unclaimed property owners appear in the newspaper only once per year, even though they may be owed multiple pieces of property. State officials are also cautioning individuals to be wary of services or “finders” that charge costly fees to help locate unclaimed property.
There is no need to pay a private service to submit a claim when there is a FREE and more effective way to conveniently determine if the state is holding some of your money.
To search Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property online database, go to the Treasury Department’s website, patreasury.gov, and follow the simple instructions.