Pennsylvania Granted Extension for REAL ID
Pennsylvania has been granted an extension by the federal government to comply with the requirements of the REAL ID Act until June 5, 2017. This will allow Pennsylvania residents to continue using their driver’s licenses as identification to enter federal buildings through June.
The extension gives state leaders more time to work cooperatively to fix state law to allow for federal REAL ID compliance and to ensure that it’s done in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.
Without the extension, residents would have needed additional photo ID, such as a passport, to gain access to federal buildings starting on Jan. 30. The air travel restriction is still in place for 2018, unless additional extensions are granted or the issue is addressed legislatively.
Over the years, the General Assembly and PennDOT have worked to enhance the security of Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, but federal law requires additional improvements.
Applications Available for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
Forms for the state’s 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program are available for download from the Department of Revenue’s website starting today. Paper forms will be available in the coming weeks.
Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2016. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.
Residents do not need to pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Copies of the forms, as well as assistance with filing them, are available at no cost at my district office(s); however, applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications are due by June 30.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is one of many initiatives supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery, which dedicates its proceeds to support programs for older Pennsylvanians.
For more information, visit my website at RepEverett.com.
Website Offers Families Help to Save for Disability Expenses
A new website about the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program website is now available at paable.gov to offer essential information on the upcoming program.
The ABLE Savings Program gives individuals with qualified disabilities a tax-free way to save for future disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The site also has a short quiz to help determine eligibility, a comprehensive Frequently Asked Question section and allows users to sign up to receive updates on the program, including when accounts open for enrollment.
Modeled after college 529 savings accounts, PA ABLE accounts allow eligible individuals with qualifying disabilities and their families to save for housing, education, transportation, medical and other expenses without jeopardizing government benefits. The federal tax-free savings and investment options are offered to encourage individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support health, independence and quality of life.
The Pennsylvania Treasury, which operates the site, has also opened an ABLE Call Center at (855) 529-2253 which operates Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
PennDOT Searching for College Students for Summer Work Program
PennDOT is accepting applications from current college students for its summer 2017 employment program. The program runs April through August to supplement the permanent workforce.
Positions include those for summer maintenance and sign upgrade services, including labor duties in maintenance organizations and highway worksites.
All applicants must be enrolled in college full time and be scheduled for classes for the Fall 2017 semester. They must also have a valid Pennsylvania driver license.
All candidates – both new hires and re-hires – must apply online at employment.pa.gov under the Student Summer Employment positions category. Candidates should also notify my district office about their application submission by Friday, Feb. 10.
Please note that preference will be given to those candidates who are enrolled in college and have lost their jobs during the past 12 months.
Adopt Local Roads, Parks, Other Areas to Fight Litter
I would like to invite local residents, organizations, civic groups, and businesses to join programs to adopt local areas, such as municipal roads, communities, parks, neighborhood blocks, greenways, waterways and trails to keep them litter free.
According to Keep America Beautiful’s 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study, litter cleanup costs the United States more than an estimated $11.5 billion each year with municipalities spending more than $790 million and counties spending $185 million each year.
For local information, contact Adopt A Highway Roadside Specialist Lyndon Mink at 570-368-4224, or LMINK@pa.gov. For information about adopting a state-maintained road, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at penndot.gov and search Adopt-a-Highway.
Veterans Registry Helps Put Vets in Touch with Services
Thousands of Pennsylvania veterans have been better connected to benefits, programs and services, thanks to an online registry launched a year ago by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).
Registration is conveniently available by using a computer or mobile device and visiting register.dmva.pa.gov. The process takes just a couple of minutes and includes the registrant providing basic information such as name, age, home address, email address, etc.
Registrants can choose to have their information shared with their county director for veterans affairs and other relevant state agencies. They can also opt in to receive timely, informative emails regarding local, state and national news; program updates; community events; and employment opportunities available specifically for veterans.
Pennsylvania is home to nearly 900,000 veterans.
Special Veterans Assistance Hours Jan. 23
If you are a veteran or a family member of one, I encourage you to take advantage of free assistance at Penn Hills Plaza, Suite 1, Muncy.
Dan Falls, department service officer with the Pennsylvania American Legion, will be available by appointment on Monday, Jan. 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., to help with issues such as compensation, pension, death benefits, education, health care and general veterans’ benefits. Veterans do not need to be a member of the legion to participate.
To schedule an appointment, call my district office at (570) 546-2084.
Road Maintenance Info Available Online
To make your travels easier, the weekly road maintenance schedule is available at the PennDOT Regional Office website here. For statewide information, visit 511pa.com.