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Boscola Bulletin

Visit My Website for One-Stop Information & Updates on COVID-19

COVID-19 Update - Important resources and informationDo you feel like information keeps getting thrown at you, and that information changes in a moments notice? I created a page on my website dedicated solely to keeping constituents up-to-date on information related to COVID-19 from the Commonwealth. Please take a moment to check it out and stop back frequently – as the website gets updated multiple times each day to keep you in the loop.

As always, feel free to contact my office either via phone (610) 868-8667 or email boscola@pasenate.com for any additional questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 or any other state-related issue. 

Governor Wolf Requests Major Disaster Declaration for Additional Assistance

Governor WolfYesterday, Governor Tom Wolf requested a major disaster declaration from the President through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide additional support for state, county and municipal governments and certain nonprofits, as well as individuals who are struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 outbreak is taking its toll on our Commonwealth and communities therefore Governor Wolf has called on the President and the federal government to make available the assistance that Pennsylvania needs immensely.

Pennsylvania already received an emergency declaration under the President’s nationwide emergency proclamation, which provides reimbursement for eligible expenses for emergency protective measures to state, county and local governments and certain nonprofits for the duration of the emergency incident. The declared nationwide emergency incident started Jan. 20, 2020, and continues.

The request for a major disaster declaration, if approved, will provide the same emergency protective measures available under the nationwide emergency proclamation; the following Individual Assistance programs: Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Community Disaster Loans and the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program; and Statewide Hazard Mitigation.

It is not known how quickly the President will decide to grant or deny Governor Wolf’s major disaster request for additional federal assistance. Governor Wolf signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency for the COVID-19 outbreak, which is a required step to request a federal major disaster declaration, on March 6, 2020.

View Governor Wolf’s letter as a PDF here.

Coronavirus Child Care

The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced a new tool available on the department’s website designed to help essential workers connect with child-care providers that have been granted a waiver by the department’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to continue serving the families of essential personnel during the COVID-19 emergency.

OCDEL continues to receive and process waiver requests for child care centers and group child care homes seeking to continue to operate during this time with the expectation that providers operating with a waiver serve only the families of essential personnel such as health care providers on the front lines, emergency and first responders, home care workers serving vulnerable populations, grocery and food service employees until the governor’s closure order is lifted.

OCDEL is processing waiver requests based on the information provided in good faith. If a child-care provider reports that they need to remain open in order to serve the families of essential personnel, OCDEL will grant that request. To date, OCDEL has processed and approved more than 700 requests for waivers.

The public can access information about child care providers that have been granted waivers on the department’s website, which includes a map linked on the citizen resource page of the COVID-19 section. DHS encourages essential workers to use this information as a resource to find child care options available in their community.

Family child care homes and group child care homes operated inside a residence may continue to operate at their discretion without a waiver. Those provider types are defined in regulations and generally serve fewer children than child care centers operated in a commercial setting. The public can access information about these providers at www.findchildcare.pa.gov.

As the non-life-sustaining business closure order is being enforced around Pennsylvania, DHS is also reminding law enforcement agencies that some child care providers may continue to operate. Child care providers operating with a waiver should be prepared to present this waiver if contacted by law enforcement.

DHS is grateful to child care providers who continue to serve the families of essential personnel, and we recognize there is an inherent risk in continuing these operations while we also focus on mitigating the spread of COVID-19. OCDEL has worked with health professionals to provide guidance to help child care providers maintain the health and safety of their staff and children in care. This guidance was distributed earlier this week and is available in the provider guidance section of the COVID-19 page on the DHS website.

Secretary Miller also reminded families that they must have a back up plan in place should their child care provider need to close with short notice.

Guidance to DHS providers related to COVID-19 is available here.

Important Information from the Department of Labor & Industry 

Status of Unemployment Compensation Claims Processing

Important Information Unemployment Compensation - Status of Claims

If you opened your claim between March 15 and March 21: We are working quickly to mail a PIN to you so you can file for benefits starting Sunday, March 29, 2020.  If you do not receive your PIN by Saturday, March 28, please remember that you may file any day through Friday, April 3, 2020.  If you do not receive your PIN in time for you to file by April 3, we will make accommodations for filing and will update these instructions, accordingly.
 
If you opened your claim between March 22 and March 28: Your first day to file will be Sunday, April 5, 2020. We will update these instructions, accordingly, as we monitor our progress with mail processing.
 

For All New Claims: Mailing PINs is a top priority, so you may not have received your financial determination yet.  When you do receive your financial determination and if you detect an error, you may file an appeal at that time.  We are processing all documents as quickly as possible and appreciate your patience during this evolving situation.

For Reopened Claims: If you reopened your claim since March 13, 2020, you may try filing your biweekly claims and receive a message that your claim is not active.  Please try again each day.  We are working to get claims reactivated as quickly as possible.  If your filing window expires (after Friday) and you still could not successfully file, we will make any older weeks available for filing once we reactivate your claim.  
Once you receive your PIN and instructions, file your biweekly claim via phone at: 1-888-255-4728 or online at https://www.paclaims.pa.gov/uccc/PreWelcome.asp.

Payments are submitted to you on either the Reliacard (debit card) that was sent when you filed your initial claim, or via direct deposit to your bank account.
 
Check Claim Status Online

Before calling or emailing L&I, you can check your payment status at: https://www.paclaims.pa.gov/ucen/LoginClaimStatus.asp.
 
Payment Funds Schedule

If you file your biweekly claim on:

  • Sunday OR Monday = funds available by Wednesday
  • Tuesday = funds available by Thursday
  • Wednesday = funds available on Friday
  • Thursday = funds available on Saturday
  • Friday = funds available on the following Monday

Note: Payments may be delayed if there is an eligibility issue that must be resolved before payment can be made.
 
L&I is working as quickly as possible to process claims during this pandemic.
 
Please answer our calls
You will see COPA on the caller ID when we call you. By answering our call, you will help in getting your claim processed faster.

Note: Being confined to home does not necessarily mean you are not available to accept work. If you plan on returning to your employer after the COVID-19 restrictions are over, or you could work from home if requested, you are Available.  You are Able to work if you are mentally and physically capable of performing a job for which a labor market exists.

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
One East Broad Street
Suite 120
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 868-8667
Fax: (610) 861-2184
Toll-free: 1-877-535-1818
EASTON OFFICE
1701 Washington Blvd.
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 250-5627
(610) 250-5629
Fax: (610) 250-1889
HARRISBURG OFFICE
458 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3018
(717) 787-4236
Fax: (717) 783-1257
Senate of PA:
1-800-364-158 (TTY)