News for Constituents

Apply Now for Home Heating Assistance Program

Pennsylvania’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is taking applications through March 31, 2017 for home heating assistance to qualifying low- and fixed-income individuals and families, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Income eligibility for heating assistance for a household of one is $17,820, increasing incrementally with a family of ten’s income eligibility set at $73,815.  Each additional person over ten raises the limit by $6,240.

Apply online or download an application through COMPASS, Pennsylvania’s secure website for many health and human service programs.

Locating Lost Insurance Policies for Loved Ones

Uncollected payouts from lost life insurance policies are not rare according to the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance (PID).

Beneficiaries, and those who have reason to believe they may have been designated a beneficiary, can begin by filing a free request with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), triggering the NAIC, PID, and life insurance companies to search their databases.

Within 90 days, the requester should be notified if a policy exists and whether he or she is a beneficiary or entitled to information about the life insurance policy.  You may contact the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau for further assistance at 1-877-881-6388 or send an email for additional insurance-related questions or issues to be resolved.

Candle Fire Safety Tips Just in Time for the Holidays 

The continued popularity of candles is prompting a reminder from the Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC) that December is the peak month for candle fires and Christmas is the peak day.

Noting falling asleep as a factor in 12 percent of home candle fires and 26 percent of the associated deaths, the OSFC warns against leaving a candle unattended and when going to bed.

Candle fire safety measures require a minimum one foot safety circle around a burning candle, being especially careful to keep candles away from Christmas trees, decorations, clothing, and paper.  Children and pets should also be kept away from candles, matches and lighters.  The OSFC offers a variety of prevention and educational materials for year-round safety.

Aggressive Driving Enforcement Expected During Holiday Season

The holiday Aggressive Driving Campaign is focusing on speeding, driving too fast for conditions, and following too closely, among other factors contributing to vehicle crashes, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The Pennsylvania State Police and more than 205 of the state’s municipal police departments are concentrating on roadways with a historically high number of aggressive driving crashes.

Pennsylvania experienced a decline in speed-related crash fatalities from 385 in 2007 to 177 in 2015.  Similarly, speed-related crashes have declined from 6,137 in 2006 to 3,941 in 2015.

Track the Snow Plows Before Leaving Home  

GPS-equipped snow plows will allow motorists to determine if the state roads they rely upon to get to work are plowed and treated this winter, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Using 511PA, click the box beside the truck that appears above the map.  Then click on the individual plow trucks appearing on the map to view details on the plow’s movements over the previous six hours.

Select winter road conditions, then click on the weather symbols posted along your planned route to reveal additional details including wind direction and speed, temperature and wind chill.  Sunny or snowy, the website will also indicate traffic volume including free flowing, moderate, heavy, stop and go, and closures.

This pilot program began with 119 plow trucks and expanded to include 516 PennDOT trucks and 212 rental trucks removing snow on interstates and expressways across the state during 2015.  The Department intends to install the tracking technology on over 2,000 plow trucks this winter.

Deer Collisions Cannot Increase Insurance Premiums

Pennsylvania had the second highest rate of deer-related vehicle collisions during 2015, according to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

The average insurance claim for deer crashes is about $4,000.  With a one in 70 chance of being involved in a deer-related collision, the Department is reassuring drivers, their insurance company cannot add a surcharge to their premium for an accident with a deer.

These “not-at-fault” crashes tend to occur at dusk and dawn when deer are most active and drivers are commuting to and from work.  For additional questions, contact the Insurance Department Consumer Services Bureau online or by calling 1-877-881-6388.