Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the PA Able Savings Program

Treasurer Stacy Garrity today joined Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), Sherri Landis of The Arc of Pennsylvania, Susan Tachau of the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation, and other disability advocates to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the PA ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Savings Program.

PA ABLE is a savings program for Pennsylvanians with disabilities and their families. It provides a tax-free way to save without affecting eligibility for critical means-tested benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (up to $100,000) or Medical Assistance. Nearly 6,300 Pennsylvanians have opened PA ABLE accounts and saved more than $72 million for disability expenses.

“PA ABLE is a tremendous program that really expands opportunity and increases independence for Pennsylvanians with disabilities,” Treasurer Garrity said. “It’s great to see the success as the program keeps growing – and as it does, we will continue to look for ways to improve the program. I’m so thankful for the great support we have for PA ABLE in the General Assembly, and with our incredible network of partners who do such important work every day and help spread the word about how PA ABLE can help improve lives.”

“Due to the care taken during the conception and legislative construction of ABLE, we have come up with a good balance of state assistance and personal initiative,” Senator Baker said. “This helps families in dealing with extremely challenging and difficult circumstances, by removing roadblocks and helping them offer a better life for their loved one coping with a disability. The concept is so simple – reward, rather than penalize, families for prudently planning ahead.”

Federal ABLE legislation, championed by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in 2014, allowed for states to create ABLE programs. PA ABLE was enacted in 2016 with instrumental support from Sen. Baker and former Rep. Bernie O’Neill.

“Since its inception 5 years ago, PA ABLE has helped thousands of Pennsylvanians with disabilities and their families save for the future,” Senator Casey said. “I am proud to have led this effort at the federal level, but we have more work to do to make ABLE more accessible. The next step is to pass my bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which would expand ABLE account eligibility to people with disabilities that occur prior to age 46—including veterans—and ensure more Pennsylvanians and their families can benefit from this life-changing resource. I thank Treasurer Garrity for marking this occasion and I will continue to fight in Congress for the needs of people with disabilities and their families.”

“The Arc of Pennsylvania celebrates the 5th anniversary of the PA ABLE and the incredible opportunity the program has given to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Landis said. “Allowing individuals to save money for the future, while maintaining benefits, is a step forward in creating financial security.”

“I’m honored to be here today to help celebrate PA ABLE’s 5th anniversary,” Tachau said. “Self-determination and autonomy are values that we hold dear – and PA ABLE provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to become empowered and save for their futures without jeopardizing critical services. As a parent of an adult with cerebral palsy, I’ve been able to have new discussions with our son about savings and goal setting because he can now control his finances. He has used his PA ABLE account to buy a smart doorbell so that he can see who’s at his front door, and he’s purchased a smart phone with specialized software so that he can make calls by himself. PA ABLE has given him the ability to be more independent in how he makes financial decisions.”

Others joining the celebration included Karen Leslie-Henry, Coordinator of Community Relations for the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, a Pre-K to 12th grade school located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia; and Lori Tyndall, Vice President of AHEDD, a nonprofit organization that provides employment services for people with disabilities.

PA ABLE is one of the largest, and fastest growing ABLE programs in the country, and is the largest in the 19-member National ABLE Alliance, accounting for nearly 25% of total assets.

To be eligible for PA ABLE, a person’s disability must have occurred prior to their 26th birthday. PA ABLE account owners can choose from six different investment options and an interest-bearing checking account. Contributions and earnings in PA ABLE accounts can be used to help save and pay for short- or long-term disability related expenses. Qualifying expenses include education, housing, transportation, assistive technology, health care, financial management, and more.

Tax advantages for PA ABLE account owners include no federal or state income taxes owed on earnings or qualified withdrawals; a PA state income tax deduction on contributions up to $16,000 annually; and exemption from PA inheritance tax.

Senator Casey has introduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act in Congress, which would raise the eligibility for ABLE programs to those whose disability occurs by age 46. This would expand ABLE account access to about 6 million more Americans, including an estimated 1 million disabled veterans. The legislation is cosponsored by Senator Pat Toomey. A House version has also been introduced and is cosponsored by 12 members of the Pennsylvania delegation.

To learn more about PA ABLE, visit paable.gov, email info@paable.gov or call 855-529-2253.

The Dime Bank Hosts Free Virtual Webinars on Money Management

Want to get smarter about money? April 9 -16 is Money Smart Week! This FREE virtual campaign aims to help people better manage their personal finances with a focus on those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s line-up includes:

  • Monday, April 11th @ 1:00 p.m. CT / 2:00 p.m. EST | Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Presented by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • Tuesday, April 12th @ 1:00 p.m. CT / 2:00 p.m. EST | Credit: Build & Improve It! Presented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Wednesday, April 13th @ 1:00 p.m. CT / 2:00 p.m. EST | Buying or Refinancing a Home: Options & Tools. Presented by North West Housing Partnership
  • Thursday, April 14th @ 1:00 p.m. CT / 2:00 p.m. EST | Understanding Social Security Benefits. Presented by the Social Security Administration

View more details at www.moneysmartweek.org*. Events are free and open to the public, but registration is advised. Questions for the panelists can be submitted during the registration process.

Net Credit Union Announces 2022 Charity Recipient

Saint Joseph’s Center Trinity Child Care Center is NET Credit Union’s 2022 charity recipient. In 2014, St. Joseph’s Center opened its latest program, Trinity Child Care Center, to benefit medically fragile or technology dependent children. This center opened as an alternative or supplement to in-home nursing care.

The need in our area for a facility like Trinity Child Care Center is higher than most think. The center is for children whose parents are working or attending school that struggle finding appropriate childcare. Trinity Child Care Center is a relief for parents due to the professional trained staff and hands on care.

This year, all funds raised by NET Credit Union’s fundraising efforts will benefit the children at St. Joseph’s Center Trinity Child Care Center. NET Credit Union will be hosting our 9th Annual NEToberfest Golf Tournament Friday, October 7th at Blue Ridge Golf Course. Learn more about our fundraising efforts and event details here.

Since 2015, NET Credit Union has and will continue to fundraise for local charities. In 2021 alone, NET Credit Union donated over $85K to our local community. “People helping people” is not only our motto, but also our community’s motto. Together partnered with St. Joseph’s Center Trinity Child Care Center, we are determined and committed to helping them achieve their goals.

Widmer Sign Co. Purchased by PA Signs.

Bobby and Noelle Lynett purchased Widmer Sign Co., Inc. on January 31, 2022. With deep roots in Scranton, Bobby and Noell stepped into the sign industry in 2018 when they started PA signs and purchased Sekula Signs located in DuBois, Pennsylvania. The acquisition of Widmer Sign will allow for continued, planned growth and expansion in northern Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York.

The creative and energetic team at Widmer Sign will not change. Todd and Jenny Collins will be working with the company as the new owners get acclimated. As you know, Widmer Sign has manufactured and produced award-winning, high quality signs for over 85 years. Our goal has always been to gain greater visibility for our customers with a better designed, unique sign to landmark their business. You have always been our inspiration to do our best.

We assure you that the combination of these companies’ talents and extensive capabilities, under the leadership of the Lynetts, will provide new and additional services to Widmer’s loyal client base. Joining forces with a company as passionate about small business success as us is what takes us into the next chapter in our storybook. Bobby and Noelle vow to carry on the family-owned legacy while keeping the innovative and fun culture of the company. They plan to develop and grow PA Signs while promising attention to detail and superior craftsmanship on every project, large or small.

Thank you for being our valued customer. You have been an amazing part of our journey and we are so grateful to be a part of yours! Here’s to new opportunities for all of us!

Telespond Senior Services Appoints Two Members to Board of Directors

Telespond Senior Services is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its board of directors, Thomas DePietro and Michelle Carr.

Thomas DePietro is the owner and pharmacy manager of DePietro’s Pharmacy in Dunmore. Since opening in 2012, DePietro’s Pharmacy has received numerous recognitions for excellence in customer service and community involvement, most recently being named “Best Local Pharmacy” by readers of the Scranton Times for the sixth consecutive year in 2021. DePietro serves on the board of directors for the Greater Scranton YMCA and the Lackawanna County Heritage Valley Authority and is also a member of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute Spirit of Hope Gala Committee and the Lackawanna College Board of Trustees.

Michelle Carr is Senior Vice President and Retail Banking Director at Fidelity Bank. She has over 30 years of experience in bank management and first joined Fidelity Bank in 2005. In 2020, she stepped into her current role and was also named Fidelity Banker of the Year. Carr serves on the Maternal and Family Health Services Resource Development Committee and the Area on the Aging Elder Justice Multi-Disciplinary Team.

To learn more about Telespond’s board of directors and the organization’s mission of enhancing the safety and well-being of the region’s elderly, visit our website: http://www.seniordayservices.org/about-us/

Action Lift, Inc. Awarded Crown Pioneer Award and The Summit Award 2021

Crown Equipment Corporation, one of the world’s largest material handling companies, recently announced the James F. Dicke Pioneer Award for 2021, along with the company’s Summit and Ascent Award winners.

Action Lift, Inc. in Pittston, PA, earned the prestigious Pioneer Award as Crown’s top-performing independent dealer in all North America. In addition to the Pioneer Award, the company was awarded the Summit Award, which signifies the best Crown dealer within their market size.

“We are thrilled to be named as the Pioneer Award winner in addition to the Summit Award. I am very proud of the entire team at Action Lift. If it weren’t for their hard work during these challenging times, we wouldn’t have seen this level of success.” said Joe Mikiewicz, General Manager, Action Lift, Inc.

William F. Medico, President of Action Lift, added, “We are proud to represent Crown Equipment in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Our outstanding team went above and beyond to reach our sales goals while delivering exceptional customer service in the process.”

This is Action Lift’s third Pioneer Award and twenty-second Summit Award for outstanding sales and customer satisfaction as a Crown Equipment dealer.

PCN Announces Vice President of Finance

PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network) is pleased to announce that Dan Surma has joined the nonprofit
television network and will serve as its Vice President of Finance.

“Dan’s valuable experience and leadership in the nonprofit financial industry will guide PCN’s fiduciary
strategy as we expand fundraising efforts focused on philanthropic support,” said President and CEO
Debra Kohr Sheppard. “Through viewer and corporate donations, PCN will continue to provide citizens with direct access to unfiltered coverage of state government, and deliver high quality content focusing on the state’s rich history, culture, and high school sports that make our communities unique. With oversight of all company financials and human resources, we know Dan will make a tremendous impact on PCN.”

Surma comes to PCN with more than 15 years’ experience in providing operational support to the not-for profit-industry. After starting his professional career as a CPA specializing in providing not-for-profit audit and taxation services, Dan transitioned to industry, working as President of his own consulting practice, performing outsourced CFO and controllership services to small and mid-sized nonprofits in the DC Metropolitan region. He has also served as Treasurer on a number of nonprofit boards. Most recently, Surma was Vice President of Finance for the United Way of York County. Dan is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a Bachelor of Science in business administration in accounting.

PCN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit television network located in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania with bureaus in
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. PCN is dedicated to educating, connecting, and celebrating Pennsylvania’s past, present, and future through cable television and emerging technologies. Watch PCN on cable television in Pennsylvania or with the PCN Select App. Support PCN’s mission through a tax-deductible donation. Learn more about Giving to PCN at www.pcntv.com or 717-760-6000.

JAN-PRO of NEPA Opens New Office Location

JAN-PRO, a cleaning and disinfecting company, recently celebrated the grand opening of their relocated office space. The new office is located at 94 Bostin Hill Road, Larksville, PA 18651. Jan-Pro has been voted the number one commercial cleaning business by Entrepreneur magazine for the past 14 years, and the number one cleaning business in America.

Medical Education Resident Physician Co-authors Six Scholarly Research Articles

Dr. Ayushi Jain

Dr. Ayushi Jain, an internal medicine resident physician at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, has co-authored six scholarly research papers that were accepted for publication in academic journals.

The Oxford Academic, which has more than 450 journals in the humanities, social sciences, law, science and medicine, published the paper, “Acute Brain Activation Patterns of High- vs. Low-Frequency Stimulation of the Anterior Nucleus of the Thalamus During Deep Brain Stimulation for Epilepsy,” in the Neurosurgery Journal. Ten research scholars collaborated on the paper.

Dr. Jain also was the co-author of the paper, “Directed Stimulation of the Dentato-Rubro-Thalamic Tract for Deep Brain Stimulation in Essential Tremor: A B lined Clinical Trail,” in the Neuroradiology Journal, of SAGE Journals, the world’s leading independent academic publisher. The scholarly paper was written by 10 co-authors.

SAGE Journals also published the research paper, “Edge-Enhancing Gradient Echo with Multi-Image Co-Registration and Averaging for Targeting Thalamic Centromedian and Parafascicular Nuclei,” in the Neuroradiology Journal, which she co-authored with eight other researchers.

The research article, “Temporal Pole Blurring in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Revealed by 3D Edge-Enhancing Gradient Echo MRI,” was published in the Neuroradiology Journal. Dr. Jain was the co-author with eight additional researchers.

Dr. Jain’s research article, “Brain Structural Differences in Temporal Lobe and Frontal Lobe Epilepsy Patients: A Voxel-Based Morphometry and Vertex-Based Surface Analysis,” was published in the Neuroradiology Journal. It was co-authored by Dr. Jain and 11 other academic researchers.

Elsevier, a global publishing company that specializes in scientific and medical content, published the scholarly article, “Connectivity Correlates to Predict Essential Tremor Deep Brain Stimulation Outcome: Evidence for a Common Treatment Pathway,” in the NeuroImage: Clinical Journal. The research paper featured 17 co-authors.

For more information about The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, please go to TheWrightCenter.org.