Monthly Archives: January, 2018

Department of Human Services connects people who receive public benefits to employment

DOH infographic

Spotlight on scams

As we socialize online, we are opening ourselves up to many great things; travel tips, fine dining reviews, fashion trends and more. Sometimes new friendships…It starts out as someone making a simple comment on social media, something complimentary or perhaps a kind remark that strikes your attention.  After a short time, your new “friend” offers a photo of him or herself, and it’s just as you imagined, you start to share more photos and little facts about yourself. Before you know it, you have developed a virtual relationship, you have a strong connection and are hopeful that they feel the same. It is suggested that you should plan to meet, go out on the town and have a great time getting to know each other in person, what could go wrong?

online scams 2

And then it happens, your new found love needs your help, “could you possibly loan me $5,000, as I am out of the country and in need of emergency surgery”, or perhaps, “I am in the midst of a huge business deal abroad and I cannot access my account from here”. Whatever the reason, they are asking for your money.  If you were to send this money, you can bet on being asked for more and more, some victims have reported losses upwards of $49,000.00.

Criminals create false identities, steal photos from other sources and groom victims by slowly learning bits of personal information, and then build that expectation of a future together, all the while actually preparing to steal your hard earned money.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), in 2016, almost 15,000 complaints categorized as romance scams or confidence fraud were reported and the losses exceeded $230 million. Pennsylvania ranks in the top 5 states with reported victims.  The FBI reports 82% of romance scam victims are women and women over 50 are defrauded out of the most money.

While most victims fail to notify authorities due to embarrassment, we encourage you to report this criminal activity. Many of these scammers are operating outside the United States, this alone creates a greater challenge to investigate and prosecute these crimes. Keep in mind, not all of the scammers are from overseas, a recent complaint right here in Pennsylvania was allegedly perpetrated by a man living in California.  Follow these tips below when anyone pushes you into a sweetheart scam scenario.

Be careful what you post, because scammers can use that information against you. If you develop a romantic relationship with someone you meet online, consider the following:

  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere on other websites.
  • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline.”
  • Beware if the individual tells you to keep this a secret or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
  • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then keeps putting it off.
  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally.

If you suspect an online relationship is a scam, stop all contact immediately. Call local police and file a complaint with the FBI at , the Pennsylvania Attorney General by email – or online at

In cooperation with Crime Alert Berks County, this article has been written to provide basic information to warn the public about common fraud and scams by the Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association (PCPOA) a non-profit 501c(3). For more information please visit our website at

More Than One-Third of People with Traditional Medicare Spent at Least 20 Percent of Their Total Income on Health Care in 2013

Health Costs Are Projected to Consume Half of Average Per Social Security Income by 2030


“Health care costs are a substantial and growing burden for many people on Medicare and are projected to consume a larger share of total income over time, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“The study, Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending as a Share of Income Now and Projections for the Future, finds that more one-third of people with traditional Medicare spent at least 20 percent of their total income on out-of-pocket health care costs in 2013. That included premiums, deductibles and cost sharing for Medicare-covered services, as well as spending on services not covered by Medicare, such as dental and long-term care. The analysis of spending as a share of total income does not include enrollees in Medicare Advantage plans, who account for 19 million of the 59 million people with Medicare. Income is measured on a per person basis, which for married couples is income for the couple divided in half.

“While some people with Medicare face relatively low out-of-pocket costs, the financial burden can be especially large for beneficiaries with modest incomes and significant medical needs. For instance, among beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, just over half with incomes below $20,000 and those ages 85 and over spent at least 20 percent of their total income on health expenditures in 2013, along with more than 4 in 10 beneficiaries in fair or poor health status.

“Among all Medicare beneficiaries, out-of-pocket costs consumed 41 percent of beneficiaries’ per person Social Security income in 2013, on average. Older women and beneficiaries ages 85 and older tended to have higher average out-of-pocket spending as a share of average Social Security income than others, according to the analysis.

“The analysis projects that the health care spending burden among Medicare beneficiaries will rise over time. By 2030, the study projects that under current policies 42 percent of people with traditional Medicare will spend 20 percent of their total income or more on health care costs.  Among all people with Medicare, out-of-pocket costs are projected to consume half of the average per person Social Security benefit by 2030.

“With rising health care costs representing a growing challenge to the financial security of older adults, these findings have implications for policies that could shift costs on to beneficiaries as part of a broader effort to reduce federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.”

Friday Wrap-Up, January 26, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.


“Was Lydia E. Pinkham the Queen of Quackery?” – Jstor Daily


A selection of Pinkham products via The Smithsonian Institution

“You may not recognize her face, but for nearly a hundred years, the grandmotherly countenance of Lydia E. Pinkham appeared in so many newspapers, advertisements, trade cards, and freely distributed pamphlets that contemporaries compared her to Queen Victoria, the Mona Lisa, and Lady Liberty. Pinkham was the developer of an immensely popular, if questionably effective, herbal remedy for “female complaints” called Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound. From its beginnings in 1875 until today—yes, the compound is still being produced—Pinkham’s cure for all manner of womanly woes, including prolapsed uterus, cramps, hot flashes, and pregnancy-related issues, has earned her both scorn and praise. She probably deserved a bit of both.”

Click here to continue reading this article in its entirety.


Wolf Administration, Community Partners to Host Resource Fairs for Evacuees from Puerto Rico

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that his administration is holding One-Stop-Shop: Traveling Resource and Information Fairs for individuals and families who have fled the devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

“Compassion is in the fabric of our state and assisting our fellow Americans is a Pennsylvania tradition,” said Governor Wolf. “More than 500,000 people of Puerto Rican descent call Pennsylvania home and when emergency strikes, families unite in solidarity and support. After the devastation from Hurricane Maria, our state has responded to one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the history of the island.

“We will continue providing our support to those there and to those arriving in our state. I thank countless public and private entities lending a hand to those in need.”

The Pennsylvania Department of State, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (GACLA), along with other state agencies, are partnering with local and county governments, community and faith-based organizations, businesses and employers to bring information to cities where the highest concentration of evacuees are settling.

The Traveling Resource and Information Fairs are scheduled for (2 PM– 5 PM):

  • Monday, January 22 – HARRISBURG – Latino-Hispanic American Community Center, 1301 Derry Street, 717-232-8302
  • Tuesday, January 23 – BETHLEHEM – Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley Community Room, 1337 E. 5th Street, 484-223-4743
  • Wednesday, January 24 – ALLENTOWN – Casa Guadalupe Center, 218 N. 2nd Street, 484-223-4743
  • Monday, January 29 – LANCASTER – San Juan Bautista Church Cafeteria, 425 S. Duke Street, 717-392-4118
  • Tuesday, January 30 – LEBANON – Lebanon Campus of Harrisburg Area Community College, 725 Cumberland Street, 717-270-4222
  • Wednesday, January 31 – READING – Centro Hispano Daniel Torres, 501 Washington Street, 610-685-1266

Additional fairs will be scheduled in Philadelphia and York.

Agencies and organizations will provide information on employment opportunities, immunizations, voter registration, professional licensing, health screenings, disaster relief, housing, education (primary, secondary, and higher education), birth certificates (from Puerto Rico), banking, food and clothing, driver’s licenses, among other local integration resources and information.

For more information, contact the Pennsylvania Department of State at (717) 787-6458.

SOURCE: news release

What are the disability charactistics in Pennsylvania’s counties?


The Pennsylvania State Data Center report, DISABILITY CHARACTERISTICS IN PENNSYLVANIA COUNTIES (2012-2016) provides a snapshot of the disabilities affecting residents in Pennsylvania’s counties.

Ambulatory and cognitive disabilities are the most prevalent in the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources’ Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area.

Click here to see the report and hover your cursor over the county you want to see; the information will appear.

“In Their Own Words: People With Intellectual Disabilities Talk About Rape” – NPR

“Yes, it’s happened to me. It was a staff person. It started out where he was buying pop for me and candy for me at, it was called, the canteen. … Then one time he asked me to come down in the basement. He wanted to show me something. And I trusted him. That’s where that happened.” — Sam Maxwell, Meadville, Pa.

debbie-robinsonDebbie Robinson has been a leader and an advocate, in Pennsylvania and across the country, for people with disabilities. – Meg Anderson/NPR”

Editor’s note: This report includes descriptions of sexual assault.

“Somebody with an intellectual disability by definition has difficulty learning, reasoning or problem-solving.

“But many often think deeply about the things that affect them — and the things that isolate them, like sexual assault.

“As part of its investigation into the hidden epidemic of sexual violence faced by this group of Americans, NPR reached out to people with intellectual disabilities across the country to hear their voices, what they have to say about the sexual assaults they’ve survived, and how those experiences have affected their lives.”

Read this article in its entirety (and listen to their stories) at NPR here.

Veterans: You’re invited to an Open House at VAMC-Lebanon on February 14 | On the spot enrollment for VA Healthcare

va open house

“December 2017 Report: Drug Interactions – How to Avoid Them” – National Poll on Healthy Aging

Hispanic man examining prescription bottle in kitchen

“Most older Americans take multiple medicines every day. But a new poll suggests they don’t get – or seek – enough help to make sure those medicines actually mix safely.”

“Most older Americans take multiple medicines every day. But a new poll suggests they don’t get – or seek – enough help to make sure those medicines actually mix safely.

“That lack of communication could be putting older adults at risk of health problems from interactions between their drugs, and between their prescription drugs and other substances such as over-the-counter medicines, supplements, food and alcohol.

“The new results, from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, show that only about one in three older Americans who take at least one prescription drug have talked to anyone about possible drug interactions in the past two years.


“Even among those taking six or more different medicines, only 44 percent had talked to someone about possible drug interactions.”

Click here to continue reading this article and to download the full report.