|Senior Citizen Transit ConnectCard Registration Now Available at My District Office
Registration is now available for the Port Authority Senior Citizen ConnectCard at my main district office, located at 125 Hillvue Lane, First Floor, in McCandless. You can also call us at 412-369-2230.
The Senior Citizen ConnectCard permits adults age 65 or older to ride for free on Port Authority vehicles, including buses, light rail and inclines, during all hours of operation. The ConnectCard can be used with other transportation authorities across the Commonwealth by flashing the card to the operator.
In addition, it provides a more convenient and secure way to pay fares. The goal is to reduce fraud from riders who are not 65 or older and use a Medicare or PennDOT card to get a ride illegally. The system uses a plastic smart card called a ConnectCard with a computer chip inside that can store a variety of fare options, including passes and fare value.
It is important to bring valid proof-of-age documentation with you to my office. We will accept a photo driver’s license, PA ID card, passport, PACE ID card, armed forces discharge/separation papers or a birth certificate.
Seniors are reminded that their blue or yellow transit flash passes will continue to be accepted, but if you currently show the driver a Medicare card to ride public transit in Allegheny County or you will soon be turning 65, you will need to get a Senior ConnectCard before Jan. 1, 2020.
Veterans Assistance Available
I am asking that you take advantage of our veterans’ assistance hours at our district office in McCandless. Openings are available by appointment only. Please call 412-369-2230 to schedule yours today.
During these special hours, a veteran’s outreach specialist is available to meet with local veterans and assist them with issues they may be having accessing benefits and services from the U.S. Veterans Administration.
The dates for veterans assistance hours include:
• Aug. 16
• Sept. 20
• Oct. 18
• Nov. 15
• Dec. 20
Veterans make our country great, and we must never forget all they have done to ensure our freedom.
More information can be found online at RepTurzai.com. My district office is located at 125 Hillvue Lane, first floor, in McCandless.
Hotline to Assist Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
A new hotline to help connect thousands of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren to the resources and programs available to them is now live.
The KinConnector hotline was established through Act 89 of 2018 to address the growing number of grandparents who have become primary caregivers to their grandchildren in the Commonwealth. It is a situation that has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the state’s opioid epidemic. An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania.
KinConnector can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). The KinConnector helpline is staffed by social service professionals prepared to help families understand and access local, state and federal resources. A website of resources will also be available soon.
FCC Takes Next Step in Battle Against Robocalls, Spoofing
Recognizing the frustration and potential danger posed by spam calls and spoofing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced new rules this week that will ban malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and foreign calls.
The rules are designed to close a loophole in existing law that prevented the agency from pursuing scammers sending spoofed text messages and international bad actors making spoofed calls to Americans.
Earlier this summer, the FCC approved rules that could make it easier for AT&T, Verizon and other telecom giants to block suspected spam calls on behalf of their subscribers. It allows the companies to enroll consumers in their call-blocking services by default, as opposed to waiting for customers to sign up for such tools on their own.
While these changes are important steps in the fight against robocalls and spoofing, no one expects they will result in their elimination.
If you have lost money because of a scam call, notify your local law enforcement agency. If you receive a spam call, file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center.
Fire, EMS Grant Program to Open First Week of September
Fire companies and ambulance services throughout Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply for the 2019-20 Fire Company, Emergency Medical Services Companies Grant Program from the Office of State Fire Commissioner.
The application period will open the first week of September and remain open for 45 days. Exact dates will be listed at osfc.pa.gov closer to the grant application period opening.
Organizations may apply for a grant in up to two of six eligible funding categories. Those categories include: construction or renovation of a unit’s facility and purchase or repair of necessary fixtures and furnishings; purchase or repair of firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment, including fuel for company vehicles; debt reduction related to the above categories; training and certification of members; training and education materials about fire prevention for the general public; and, for career fire departments only, overtime costs associated with backfilling positions while firefighters are attending training.
The maximum grant amount is $15,000 for fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. A total of $30 million will be awarded through the program, which is funded by state gaming proceeds.
For more information about the program, click here.
Law to Eliminate Inheritance Tax for Children
Children age 21 or younger who suffer the loss of a parent will no longer have to pay the state’s 4.5% inheritance tax under a new law taking effect in January.
Act 13 of 2019 reduces the inheritance tax rate to 0% for the transfer of property to or for the use of a child 21 years of age or younger from a natural parent, adoptive parent or a stepparent of the child.
A prior law implemented a 0% tax rate on transfers from a child 21 years of age or younger to his or her parent.
The law will apply to transfers from a decedent who dies after Dec. 31, 2019.