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State Rep Justin Simmons Report

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The Weekly Roundup
Friday, December 1, 2017  The latest news from the State Capitol
Scam Alert

 

Scammers are spoofing an Office of Attorney General phone number in an attempt to get folks to pay them money. Spoofing is a tactic which allows people to mimic the phone numbers of legitimate businesses on the receiving party’s caller ID.

Some of the scammers are posing as agents from the Office of Attorney General and fraudulently claiming the call recipient owes money. The calls appear to originate from the attorney general’s office, but are actually coming from another phone number.

Other individuals reported scammers are using the “Grandparent Scam” from the same phone number. These callers falsely claim a grandchild of the call recipient is in jail and needs bail, or has been in an accident and needs funds. These scams frequently target senior citizens.

If you have received one of these fraudulent calls, please call the Office of Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection hotline at 1-800-441-2555, email scams@attorneygeneral.gov or click here to file a complaint.

In the meantime, if you know you’re receiving a scam phone call, hang up. Don’t press any buttons and, if you received a voice mail message, don’t call the scammer back. Don’t trust caller ID and never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden name, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.

Protecting Senior Benefits

 

Legislation will soon be on the governor’s desk that will allow senior citizens who received a Social Security cost-of-living increase to keep their eligibility for the state’s PACE and PACENET prescription drug benefit plans.

A law preventing seniors from being disqualified from the programs solely due to a Social Security cost of living increase was set to expire at the end of this year; however, House Bill 425 would continue the exemption through Dec. 31, 2019.

Current income eligibility levels for PACE are set at less than $14,500 for a single person and less than $17,700 for a couple. PACENET, which covers those individuals with incomes exceeding PACE maximums, is open to individuals earning between $14,500 and $23,500 and couples with incomes between $17,700 and $31,500. The minimum age to participate in the programs is 65, and they are funded from proceeds of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

For more information about PACE and PACENET, please contact my district office or visit www.aging.pa.gov and click on “Prescriptions.”

Deadline for Rebate Program is Dec. 31

Senior citizens are reminded that the deadline to apply for the state’s 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is Dec. 31. Applications are available from my district office.

Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2016. Learn more here.

Applications for the 2017 program are expected to be available in early February.

School Safety Grants Awarded

Several schools serving students in the 131st District received Department of Education grants that will go toward creating a safes learning environment for students and teachers.

The Western Montgomery Career and Technical Center has been awarded a Safe Schools School Police/Resource Officer Grant in the amount of $40,000.

The East Penn School District has been awarded the Year 2 allocation of its 2016-17 Safe Schools School Police/Resource Officer Grant in the amount of $30,000.

These grants are intended to be used for the training and compensation of school resource officers and school police officers.

In addition, the Upper Perkiomen School District has been awarded a Safe Schools Equipment Grant in the amount of $19,845.

This program assists schools in reducing unnecessary student disciplinary actions and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning. In addition, the funding goes toward procuring the resources and training necessary to create a physical environment that fosters the safety and well-being of students and staff.

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