Subscribe to this e-update.
Boscola Bulletin

Important Information for SSI or VA Beneficiaries with Children UNDER 17

URGENT ACTION for Social Security beneficiaries who aren’t required to file taxes but have children under 17: You must enter your information May 5 to receive your $500 per child payment.

Social Security benefitsIf you receive SSI or VA benefits, have qualifying children under the age of 17 and didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 - enter your payment info here to register to have $500 per child added to the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment you'll receive this year.

Who will receive the Economic Impact Payment automatically without taking additional steps?

Most eligible U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments including:

  • Individuals who filed a federal income tax for 2018 or 2019
  • Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), survivor benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Recipients of Veterans Affairs benefits
  • Individuals who receive Railroad Retirement benefits

If you receive these benefits but have qualifying children under 17, use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here by noon Wednesday, April 22, to have $500 per eligible child added to your Payment.
Who should use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info to provide additional information to receive the Economic Impact Payment?

Eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who:

  • Had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019
  • We’re not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and didn't plan to

You can provide the necessary information to the IRS easily and quickly for no fee through Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info. They will use this information to determine your eligibility and payment amount and send you an Economic Impact Payment. After providing this information you won’t need to take any additional action.

Information You will Need to Provide

  • Full name, current mailing address and an email address
  • Date of birth and valid Social Security number
  • Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
  • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one
  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one
  • For each qualifying child: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse

What to Expect

Follow these steps in order to provide your information:

  • Create an account by providing your email address and phone number; and establishing a user ID and password.
  • You will be directed to a screen where you will input your filing status (Single or Married filing jointly) and personal information.
  • Note: Make sure you have a valid Social Security number for you (and your spouse if you were married at the end of 2019) unless you are filing “Married Filing Jointly” with a 2019 member of the military. Make sure you have a valid Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number for each dependent you want to claim for the Economic Impact Payment.
  • Check the “box” if someone can claim you as a dependent or your spouse as a dependent.
  • Complete your bank information (otherwise we will send you a check).
  • You will be directed to another screen where you will enter personal information to verify yourself. Simply follow the instructions. You will need your driver’s license (or state-issued ID) information. If you don’t have one, leave it blank.

You will receive an e-mail from Customer Service at Free File Fillable Forms that either acknowledges you have successfully submitted your information, or that tells you there is a problem and how to correct it. Free File Fillable forms will use the information to automatically complete a Form 1040 and transmit it to the IRS to compute and send you a payment.

Unemployment Compensation Updates

https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspxPennsylvania’s unemployment system continues to handle an unprecedented number of claims as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I understand the frustration many are experiencing waiting for their benefits to be paid and not being able to reach anyone in the unemployment office. Please know my office can try and assist anyone having difficulty contacting unemployment by submitting a request to the unemployment office. Just call my office at 610.868.8667, or by emailing boscola@pasenate.com, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

An individual may be eligible for unemployment benefits if: their employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19; their employer reduces their hours because of COVID-19; they have been told not to work because their employer feels they might get or spread COVID-19; they have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts; or even if their regular working hours are considered part-time.

Applications can be filed online at www.uc.pa.gov beginning with the first week an individual is affected. The website will also allow claimants to file bi-weekly claims, check claim status, and view payment history. I encourage anyone with questions about the process to visit the Unemployment Compensation Guide by clicking here. Please remember that the waiting week and job search requirements have been temporarily lifted during the emergency declaration.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance The federal CARES Act expanded eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for unemployment benefits like self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig workers, and workers with certain religious entities. Individuals in these categories can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). A temporary federal program, PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits, including those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits. Please know the application process for PUA is separate from traditional unemployment. Anyone wishing to apply for PUA can visit www.uc.pa.gov and click on the “File for PUA” tab or click here. As this is a new program, the unemployment site will continue to provide updates at www.uc.pa.gov going forward.

The federal CARES Act also provides for a temporary emergency increase in unemployment compensation benefits, referred to as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. This program provides an eligible individual with $600 per week on top of the weekly benefit amount he or she receives from certain other UC programs. An individual must first be eligible for unemployment benefits to qualify for the additional $600 per week in benefits. Individuals do not need to do anything extra to receive the $600.

Continue to file bi-weekly claims on your traditional unemployment and benefits should be automatically updated. Beginning the week that ends April 4, 2020 and all eligible weeks through July 25, 2020, individuals will receive the extra $600 FPUC for all weeks they receive UC or PUA benefits.

Also created through the federal CARES Act was a new temporary federal program called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. PEUC provides up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits to individuals who previously collected state or federal unemployment compensation (UC) but exhausted those benefits.

The PEUC system has not been completed yet. Instructions on how to apply will be provided at www.uc.pa.gov once the system is launched.

‘Pursue Your Hominess’ Campaign Encourages Travelers to Visit PA from The Comfort of Home

Pursue Your HominessThe Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Pennsylvania Tourism Office unveiled its Pursue Your Hominess campaign to highlight ways visitors can virtually explore the commonwealth during the state’s stay-at-home order.

The Pursue your Hominess campaign will give families a new outlook on travel and provide them with resources to virtually explore Pennsylvania now and make their Pennsylvania ‘must-do’ wish list for later, Boscola said.  Keeping our Pennsylvanian’s safe now through this pandemic so we can get back to a new normal in the near future is a priority – encouraging safe social distancing and offering temporary solutions, while still focusing on the future of this Commonwealth, remains in the best interest of everyone!

“As we continue to safeguard the health and safety of Pennsylvanians during this pandemic, we need to encourage social distancing efforts while still looking forward with hope for our future,” said Sec. Davin. “The Pursue your Hominess campaign will give families a new outlook on travel and provide them with resources to virtually explore Pennsylvania now and visit later.”

The Pursue your Hominess (#PursueYourHominess) campaign was inspired by the state’s slogan, Pursue your Happiness, and was designed to help visitors discover the many tourism experiences Pennsylvania has to offer from the comfort—and safety—of their own home. The campaign was informed by a tourism sentiment research study that surveyed 1,000 participants, with Pennsylvania residents making up the largest portion of the survey audience.

So far, the campaign has featured a Martin Guitar-sponsored jam session by a Lehigh Valley musician, a virtual campfire complete with storytelling by Three Rivers Outfitters in Pittsburgh, a tour of the iconic tulip gardens at the Hershey Gardens, and fly-fishing tips and demonstration by TCO Fly Fishing.

A sample of future virtual experiences on visitPA.com/hominess include:

  • Learning how to create a cocktail with common household ingredients during a virtual happy hour with Commerce Bar in Pittsburgh;
  • Celebrating National Homebrew Day;
  • Touring the night sky from home with Franklin Institute’s Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts;
  • Japanese cooking demonstration with Roger Li of Pittsburgh's Umami and Ki Ramen;
  • Enjoying the sounds of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; and
  • Spending a (virtual) night in Philadelphia with a cooking lesson from Philadelphia’s famed chef Mark Vetri followed by a performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office is dedicated to inspiring travel to Pennsylvania as the state’s official destination marketing organization. Pennsylvania welcomed 204 million visitors in 2019, generating a $43 billion economic impact and supporting 500,000 jobs.

For more information, visit the visitPA website or sign up for our Happy Thoughts newsletter.

Additional Funding Will Support Seniors During COVID-19 Pandemic

The CARES Act approved by Congress will provide an additional $34 million to support programs for older Pennsylvanians, including home-delivered meals, home- and community-based services, long-term care and family caregiver support.

The programs supported by the funding will meet many of the most pressing needs of seniors, including transportation, care management, caregiver training and counseling, and information and referral services. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s website has more information about resources available to older adults.

Primary Election Day Reminders

Mail-in & Absentee Ballot Deadlines

The Pennsylvania Primary will be held on June 2, 2020. Pennsylvania holds closed primary elections - you must be a member of the Democratic or Republican party to vote for that party’s candidates. However, all registered voters can vote on ballot questions.

Tuesday, May 26, is the LAST DAY to apply for mail-in and absentee ballots. Applications must be RECEIVED by your county election office by 5 pm on May 26. Apply online: http://votesPA.com/ApplyMailBallot

Attention college students: If you are no longer living at your campus address, you will have to contact your county’s election office to have your absentee ballot voided. After it is voided, you can apply again or vote at your polling place. Learn more: http://votesPA.com/MailBallot.v

Facebook Twitter Instagram Join the Conversation on Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

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)