In this Update:
$900 Million Moved to PA’s Rainy Day Fund
Maintaining healthy budget reserves is one of the keys to making Pennsylvania’s financial position stronger in the years ahead. Thanks to the sound fiscal decisions advocated by Senate Republicans over the past three state budget negotiations, an additional $900 million was transferred to the state’s Rainy Day Fund last week.
Major credit rating agencies have already taken note of the state’s improving financial position; Moody’s Financial Services and S&P Global Ratings both revised the state’s long-term outlook from Stable to Positive in September.
Continuing to manage the state’s finances wisely could lead to future credit rating boosts, which could save taxpayers millions of dollars in debt costs. In addition, building the state’s reserve funds helps protect Pennsylvanians from tax increases and service cuts during any future recession, economic downturn, or other unforeseen circumstances.
Read my statement with other Senate Republican leaders about the Rainy Day Fund transfer here.
Next Veteran Service Officer Day Set for Nov. 13
As Pennsylvanians prepare to observe Veterans Day later this week, local veterans are reminded they can get help in applying for programs and services they earned through their military service during Veteran Service Officer (VSO) Days at my district office in Strasburg.
The next VSO Day will be held on Monday, Nov. 13, from 9 a.m. until noon.
These monthly office hours feature a VFW Veteran Service Officer who can assist veterans and their families who have questions about health care, disability claims, GI bill assistance and other veteran benefits. I encourage local individuals or family members who need assistance to schedule an appointment by calling my office at 717-397-1309.
More information is available here.
Are You Owed Unclaimed Property?
The Pennsylvania Treasury Department is currently holding more than $4.5 billion in unclaimed property, with about one in 10 residents eligible to recoup that property.
Unclaimed property includes dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, insurance policies and contents of forgotten safe deposit boxes. The amounts can range from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars, with the average value of a claim being about $1,600.
To find out if you or a member of your family is entitled to unclaimed property, please visit www.patreasury.com. Unclaimed property can now be returned via direct deposit, and the process can be further expedited if the claimant provides their Social Security number when filing a claim. Because all property will be returned free of charge, there is no need to pay a private service to submit a claim.
Medicare Beneficiaries: Get Free Health Benefits Counseling
The open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries is active now until Dec. 7. Any new coverage selected or changes to existing benefits will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.
During open enrollment, new Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage and health plans to complement Medicare, and current Medicare beneficiaries can review and join, switch or drop Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Coverage so that it better meets their needs.
To help Medicare beneficiaries understand their options, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging offers free, objective health benefits counseling through Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI). Available at Pennsylvania’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging, PA MEDI counselors can assist Medicare beneficiaries with plan comparisons, help with enrollment in a new plan and evaluate eligibility for any of Pennsylvania’s Medicare cost-savings programs. Learn more here.
Recognizing Outstanding Pennsylvania Educators
Pennsylvanians are encouraged to nominate their favorite teacher to be the commonwealth’s 2025 Teacher of the Year by Friday, Dec. 15. The Teacher of the Year Program celebrates excellence in teaching and honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the young people of Pennsylvania.
The state’s 2025 Teacher of the Year will be announced at an awards ceremony in early December 2024 and will represent the commonwealth at various local, regional and national functions culminating in the National Teacher of the Year ceremony at the White House.
Nominate your favorite teacher here.
Heating Assistance Program Open Now
Residents struggling with their home heating bills may apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.
The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are $21,870 for an individual, $29,580 for a couple and $45,000 for a family of four. Find limits for other family sizes here. Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting their local county assistance office.
Honoring the Sacrifices of Our Veterans
Saturday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day, when we take time to reflect on the bravery of the men and women who served our country. Because they were willing to put their lives on hold to defend our great country, we enjoy freedoms many other people can only imagine.
To support our veterans, just this year alone Senate Republicans passed bills to create a logo promoting veteran-owned businesses, establish the Veteran-Owned Business Loan Guarantee Program, provide educational support for children of National Guard and Reserve members, exempt disabled veterans’ benefit payments from income calculations for any commonwealth program or benefit and modernizes the way fishing licenses are issued for disabled veterans and military personnel.
In honor of the holiday, my offices will be closed on Friday, Nov. 10, and will reopen on Monday, Nov. 13.
If you have a question about the information in this e-newsletter or other state related matters that you would like a response to, please click HERE to submit your inquiry through my website. This will help to ensure that we are able to respond to your question in a timely fashion due to the high volume of emails and the ever growing amount of computer generated spam mail we receive daily.