PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – Johnstown and Westmont Borough today received approval for Pennvest loans to improve sewers, said state Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset. Johnstown received a $10.9 million low-interest loan for the sixth phase of sewer improvements in the Moxham area of the city, and Westmont received a $9.3 million low-interest loan to rehabilitate sewer lining, manholes and lateral inspection ports in the first phase of a two-phase project. “The project will help reduce wet-weather sewage overflows from the city and Westmont that flow into Stony Creek and rehabilitate 80- to 90-year-old pipelines,” Barbin said. “The improvements are much needed and will benefit the area for generations to come.” User rates in Johnstown will not be affected by the loan, while user rates in Westmont are expected to rise. Barbin said the low-interest rate offered by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority helps minimize the rate increase. Forty jobs are expected to be created by the improvements. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria, was sworn in to the House of Representatives today, beginning his fourth term as a legislator. Today’s swearing-in ceremony marks the beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session and the 199th of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. "The Johnstown area needs strong, experienced leadership in Harrisburg. In the face of another tough budget year and the challenges that come with it, I will remain committed to finding solutions to problems such as crime, drug addiction and dwindling education resources while advancing sound ideas and real projects that create jobs and encourage economic growth for the region," Barbin said.In his last term, Barbin helped shepherd millions in state resources to improve sewer infrastructure, clean area waterways, fund commerce improvements, and support natural gas, among others. Residents are encouraged to sign up for periodic e-mail updates from Barbin on state issues by visiting his website, www.pahouse.com/Barbin, and clicking on the "Contact" tab. He also provides updates online at www.facebook.com/RepBryanBarbin. Read more
Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more
Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed.
Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed.
Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you.
Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote.
The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses.
House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session.
According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more
As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more
The open enrollment period for health care coverage is now underway. If you or someone you know is in need of health insurance, please consider visiting the federal Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov. Applicants have until Feb. 16, 2015 to enroll.
Everyone, no matter what age, needs health insurance. A random accident or unexpected illness could put you in danger of losing not only your good health but also your financial future. Read more
To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. Read more
Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. Read more
While it may be the season for charitable giving, scammers don't take a holiday. The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple way to ensure a charity is legitimate and that your donation will be used properly. Read more
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