Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • How to get state-related assistance during the coronavirus shutdown
  • Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania over 29,441; York County has 443 cases
  • Latest podcast focuses on current and future of higher education with York College President Dr. Gunter-Smith
  • Labor and Industry Committee releases update on filing for unemployment compensation for self-employed
  • Department of Health orders new covid-19 mitigation measures, including mask requirements
  • CHIP program modified to protect children during COVID-19 crisis
  • Information on Federal Economic Impact checks available
  • Application deadline for emergency loans for hospitals is Monday
  • Child abuse hotline remains operational during COVID-19
  • PA 2-1-1 offers reliable coronavirus info
  • Homeowners, excavators urged to delay non-essential digging projects
  • Stay safe – follow these tips

STAY UP-TO-DATE WITH THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS ON MY FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

 

How to get state-related assistance during the coronavirus shutdown

I really appreciate everyone’s patience during this time. While our offices are still not able to accept in-person office visits or take in-person meetings, my staff and I are still handling constituent-related issues during this time.

Here are the various ways you can contact me:

District Office – 717-741-4648 (leave a voicemail)

Capitol Office – 717-787-7085 (leave a voicemail)

Email – SenatorKristin@pasen.gov

Contact Form – SenatorKristin.com/contact-me.

Resource guides for employers, employees, and other individuals affected by COVID-19 are also posted at SenatorKristin.com.

Please note: You and your concerns are very important to me!  Our office continues to receive a high volume of inquiries. Please only contact our office one way as this will ensure we handle your matter and can assist others in a timely manner. Again, I really appreciate everyone’s patience during this time.

If you have a specific inquiry regarding unemployment compensation, you can fill out a form here: SenatorKristin.com/contact-me. Select “Unemployment Compensation” from the drop-down menu. This will expedite your claim with our office.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania over 29,441; York County has 443 cases 

The Department of Health released their latest data this morning that show York County has 443 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Pennsylvania currently has 29,441 confirmed cases.

More information from the Department of Health can be found here. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information.

Below are a few charts that I think you may find to be of interest.

Are you interested in hearing how our local health system is adapting to this pandemic? Listen to my recent podcast here with WellSpan. I’ve also had discussions with Kevin Schreiber, YCEA President & CEO, District Attorney Dave Sunday. My latest podcast features Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith, President of York College, which is highlighted in the following article.

Latest podcast focuses on current and future of higher education with York College President Dr. Gunter-Smith 

 

You can listen to my recent discussion with President Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith of York College as part of my ongoing series of podcast episodes focused on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on various sectors across York County.

The podcast features a discussion on the college’s efforts to ensure student safety, both at the local campus as well as studying abroad, as well as how students are adjusting to remote learning and where higher education may be headed in a post-COVID-19 society.

Listen to the podcast here. Learn more about the podcast here.

Labor and Industry Committee releases update on filing for unemployment compensation for self-employed

Here is an update I received late today from the Department of Labor and Industry I am sharing with you:

Pennsylvania’s new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) website for self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others not eligible for regular unemployment compensation (UC) will begin accepting applications within the next few days. PUA is included in the new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) will announce when the PUA website is ready to accept applications. In the meantime, Pennsylvanians who meet eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to begin gathering the information they will need to file an accurate claim and receive benefits quickly.

Who Should File for PUA

Eligible individuals who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, including:

  • Self-employed;
  • Independent contractors;
  • Gig workers;
  • People without sufficient work history to qualify for regular UC; and
  • People who have exhausted regular UC or extended benefits.

PUA Benefits

In general, PUA:

  • Provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits;
  • May not be more than the state’s maximum weekly benefit rate for regular UC of $572;
  • May not be less than half of the state’s average weekly benefit amount of $195.
  • Payments will be backdated to January 27, 2020 or the first week you were unable to work due to COVID-19 (whichever of the two dates is later); and
  • Benefits will end December 31, 2020.

Information Needed for Proof of Employment or Self-employment

Acceptable documentation can include, but is not limited to:

  • Copies of recent paycheck stubs;
  • Bank receipts showing deposits;
  • 1099s;
  • Billing notices provided to your customers;
  • Recent advertisements for your business or services;
  • Statements from recent customers;
  • Current business licenses, ledgers, contracts, invoices; and/or
  • Building leases.

Information Needed to Show Previous Income

Acceptable documentation of wages can include, but is not limited to:

  • Tax returns;
  • Paycheck stubs;
  • Bank receipts;
  • Ledgers;
  • Contracts;
  • Invoices; and/or
  • Billing statements.

Additional $600 Per Week  

Individuals collecting PUA benefits will also eligible for the extra $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The additional payments will be:

  • Effective from the week ending April 4, 2020 through the week ending July 25, 2020;
  • Backdated and paid in one lump sum; and
  • Automatic – you don’t need to do anything to receive the extra $600.

Learn More

Additional COVID-19 information from L&I:

Department of Health orders new covid-19 mitigation measures, including mask requirements

The Department of Health has issued a new order that requires all life-sustaining businesses to take new precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including requiring all customers and employees to wear masks beginning at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Businesses are mandated to deny entry to customers without a mask, but exceptions are included for people who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition.

The order also includes guidelines on social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, staggering of work starting and stopping times, limiting building access and occupancy and more. Additional protocols are also included if a business is exposed to an individual who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19. Health Department Order

CHIP program modified to protect children during COVID-19 crisis

Several temporary changes to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the COVID-19 outbreak will ensure children have access to medical services and can be screened or receive treatment for the virus.

Under the changes, families will not be denied or removed from CHIP coverage for administrative or financial reasons, including being unable to provide proof of income. In addition, families will not be charged a copay for COVID-19 screening, testing or treatment.

Families are still responsible for copays for services not related to COVID-19, as well as premium payments, if applicable. More information is available here.

Information on federal Economic Impact checks available

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have begun delivering economic impact payments to most Americans as part of the federal government’s response to COVID-19. Although no action is needed from most taxpayers in order to receive the refund, some seniors and low-income individuals who do not file tax returns may need to take action to receive the money.

The IRS recently launched a new Get My Payment tool that allows people to check on the status of these payments and determine whether additional information is needed. More information is also available at www.IRS.gov/coronavirus.

Website visitors are reminded to avoid common scams that criminals use to get access to their personal information. More information on the tactics criminals use to steal personal data is available here.

Additional tools and information on economic impact payments are available here.

Application deadline for emergency loans for hospitals is Monday

Hospitals in need of working capital during the coronavirus pandemic can apply now for short-term loans to bridge the gap until more federal assistance arrives. The deadline to apply is Monday.

The Hospital Emergency Loan Program offers funding for machinery, equipment, payroll, personal protective equipment and other operating expenses during the COVID-19 outbreak. More details about the program are available here.

Child abuse hotline remains operational during COVID-19 

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and it’s a good time to note that the ChildLine 24/7 hotline to report potential cases of child abuse or neglect continues to operate during the COVID-19 emergency.

One effect of statewide school closures is the limited interaction between children, teachers and other mandated child abuse reporters in school settings. More than a third of ChildLine reports from mandated reporters in 2018 came from school employees. Calls to ChildLine have gone down since extensive COVID-19 mitigation efforts began March 19, and this could mean many cases are going unreported.

You can call to report potential cases anonymously at 1-800-932-0313 or report online, where you can also learn about the signs of abuse and neglect. 

PA 2-1-1 offers reliable coronavirus info

Pennsylvanians can find verified sources of information on the coronavirus and resources to help households struggling with a loss of income through the state’s PA 2-1-1 system.

State residents can dial 2-1-1 on their land line or mobile phone to be connected to a resource navigator. For quicker ways to access help, Pennsylvanians can also text “PACOVID” to 898-211 to receive text messages with links to vetted sources of factual information, or also visit www.uwp.org/211gethelp for information on statewide, regional and local resources.

Homeowners, excavators urged to delay non-essential digging projects

April is National Safe Digging Month, and utilities are joining the PA Public Utility Commission to encourage residents and contractors to delay non-essential digging projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Normally, before starting a project that involves digging, excavators and homeowners call 8-1-1 to ensure underground utilities are properly marked, which reduces the risk of damage. During this health emergency, utilities and 8-1-1 personnel are focused on addressing critical projects and ensuring that vital utility services and workers are safeguarded. Delaying the start of non-essential home digging projects can help this effort.

If digging is essential, excavators and homeowners are reminded to call 8-1-1 at least three business days before starting a project that involves digging. There is no charge to homeowners for 8-1-1 requests. 

Stay safe – follow these tips

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