May. 18, 2018

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

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.

My office serves as a site for these services on the first Thursday of each month. The location rotates between my Northampton and Slatington district offices. Appointments are required. For more information, please call 610-502-2701.

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.

Eagle Scout Honored

Last weekend, I participated in Thomas Nichols III’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor at Hope Lutheran Church in Cherryville. I presented Thomas, who is a member of Troop 242 and the son of Tom and Amy Nichols of Lehigh Township, with a House citation to congratulate him on this honor. For his Eagle project, Thomas restored a trail and its trail markers, as well as point of interest markers at a Lutheran church camp in Wilkes-Barre. Pictured with me (from left) are Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe/Northampton) and Thomas.

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.

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,, or contact my offices at 610-502-2701 or 610-760-9805.
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Office Locations
2030 Center Street, Northampton, PA 18067 | Phone: 610-502-2701
Slatington Borough Hall, 125 S. Walnut Street, First Floor, Slatington, PA 18080 | Phone: 610-760-9805
402A Irvis Office, PO Box 202183. Harrisburg, PA 17120-2183 | (717) 772-5398
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