Monday, May 17, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: May 17, 2010

The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011 Release

PathWays PA is proud to announce the release of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania 2010-2011!

WHEN: Thursday May 20, 2010, 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Capitol Rotunda

The Standard measures how much income a family of a certain composition in a given place must earn to meet their basic needs without public or private assistance. The Standard is based on the cost of each basic need in each county—food, housing, health care, child care, transportation and taxes— determined independently using official and publicly available data.

Please join us in Harrisburg to learn more about this important publication.

Federal

Urge Congress to Continue Tax Credits for Working Families

In 2009, Congress made significant improvements to three federal tax credits that help working families with children: the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Targeted to assist low-income working families, these expansions are scheduled to expire after tax year 2010. If they are allowed to expire, working parents earning near or just above the minimum wage will suffer a loss of $1,500 or more. Preserving the tax credit levels set in 2009 will promote work, help with the high cost of raising children, and make college more affordable.

Please ask your organization to sign a letter urging Congress to continue tax credits for working families. The deadline for signing is May 21.

To learn more about the importance of the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, please see this fact sheet.

Support the Child Nutrition Act

In March, the Child Nutrition Act was approved by the Senate’s Agriculture Committee and now needs to move onto the full Senate for a vote. In addition to bring the bill up for a vote, it needs to be ensured that the bill contains adequate funding – the full $1 billion per year as requested by the President (the Senate bill includes $450 million in funding).

Please show your support on this important child nutrition letter to ensure that the reauthorization bill provides more low-income children with access to programs and makes progress toward ending child hunger. There are two steps you can take:
  1. Sign the letter today. It is critical to have as many groups as possible on the letter. The deadline is COB Friday, May 28.
  2. Spread the word: Share the letter with other state and local organizations and encourage them to sign on. Being able to provide a strong list of diverse endorsers in each state helps us when talking to individual members of Congress.
If you have any questions please contact Brett Weisel, Advocacy Manager, at bweisel@feedingamerica.org or 202-546-7001 ext 6554.

If you would like to learn more please see the Hunger Action Center’s website.

Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA)

On February 4, 2009, President Obama signed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), which provided funding to renew and expand CHIP coverage. This new legislation preserves health coverage for millions of children who already rely on CHIP, and provides resources for states to offer CHIP coverage. CHIPRA finances CHIP through 2013, adding $33 billion in federal funds for children’s health coverage; this is great news to families with children who are uninsured.

Originally created in 1997, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a state and federal partnership that provides low-cost health insurance coverage for children in families who earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford to purchase private health insurance coverage. Children enrolling in the program must be otherwise uninsured.

If you think CHIPRA is important, please contact your members of Congress today and let them know so we can ensure this program continues to receive the funding it needs.

To learn more about the children’s health insurance program in Pennsylvania, simply go to http://www.chipcoverspakids.com.


Information/Events

Primary Election Day - Tuesday May 18th

This Tuesday, May 18th is the Primary Election. Polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm. Below is some information and guides put together by the Vote for Homes! Coalition.

Who are we voting for?

Voters registered as Democrats or Republicans will vote for the following: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Senate, Congress, State Senators and State Representatives, and Committee People. All registered voters can vote on ballot questions.

Non-Partisan Voter Resources

Voter Rights Information:

Who can vote?
  • All those  over the age of 18 who registered by April 19, 2010.
  • You can vote if you are on probation or parole, serving time for a misdemeanor, in jail awaiting trial, on house arrest, have a previous felony record in PA or another state. You cannot vote if you are currently serving time for a felony or are on pre-release status.
Where do I vote?

If you live in Philadelphia and need a ride to the polls, more information or if you are having trouble voting please call Vote for Homes! at 215-232-7272, x3042 (Ride request forms available at www.voteforhome.org)

For more information about Vote for Homes! visit www.voteforhomes.org or contact Jennine Miller at 215-232-7272, x3042 or jmiller@projecthome.org.

Is Your Organization at Risk of Losing Tax-Exempt Status?

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 stated that tax-exempt organizations, with the exception of churches or other houses of worship, must file a yearly return or notice with the IRS. If an organization has not filed an annual return in the past three years (even those with gross receipts normally under $25,000), the law is such that it automatically loses its tax-exempt status.

Loss of exempt status means an organization must file income tax returns and pay income tax and that its contributors will not be able to deduct their donations. Organizations will have to re-file for recognition as tax-exempt with the IRS.

There is a website that contains a searchable database of those local community non-profits who are at risk of losing their non-profit status on Monday, May 17, unless they file their required forms:
The smallest nonprofits (those with gross receipts normally under $25,000) only need to fill out Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard. Completing the e-Postcard only requires the eight items listed below:

  1. Employer identification number (EIN), also known as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)).
  2. Tax year
  3. Legal name and mailing address
  4. Any other names the organization uses
  5. Name and address of a principal officer
  6. Web site address if the organization has one
  7. Confirmation that the organization's annual gross receipts are normally $25,000 or less
  8. If applicable, a statement that the organization has terminated or is terminating (going out of business)

The IRS also has detailed information on who needs to file, as well as Frequently Asked Questions and fact sheets that you can share with groups in your district.  More information can also be found at the National Council of Nonprofits or at the State Association.


PathWays PA Information and Initiatives

Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:
  • Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
  • Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. You can support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Support both!
  • If you don't live in Pennsylvania, you can still support earned sick time. Visit The National Partnership for Women and Families website to learn more about campaigns in your area.
  • Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.
  • Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.
  • If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.

Do You Need Help Paying for Post-Secondary Education?

PathWays PA offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that offers financial education while helping you save for school. Through the program, your savings can be matched at a rate of three-to-one. If you save $500, we will give you an additional $1500 to go towards your school expenses.

Applicants must meet program income guidelines, be working (full or part time), and be enrolled or accepted into an accredited institution.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail Kelly Binder at kbinder@pathwayspa.org.


Need Assistance With Public Benefits Applications?

PathWays PA provides assistance to those who need help applying for food stamps or other benefits. For further information, you can contact our office in Philadelphia 215-387-1470 or Delaware County 610-543-5022.

For more information about the services provided by PathWays PA please visit our website.

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