I hope you’re staying warm and safe as the February cold snap continues. Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program can help our Plymouth neighbors and families who may be struggling with utility bills, to repair or replace malfunctioning furnaces, and to purchase fuel for delivery in emergencies. Last year, this federally funded program helped 118,000 families across the state. You can find eligibility requirements from the Minnesota Department of Commerce and how to apply here.
Our work continues at the Legislature. Here’s an update and some helpful resources from the Capitol:
Expanding Access to Dental Care for Students and Seniors
Access to dental care is a critical component to our health and wellbeing. This week, I met with the Minnesota Oral Health Coalition to discuss preventative oral health for students and seniors in long term care (many on Medical Assistance). I discussed ideas to increase the services, especially in rural Minnesota where providers services are harder to obtain. One of these ideas was a bill last year that broadened the statutes to allow hygienists to do this preventative work. The legislation is also in line with comprehensive community health centers within our schools. I’d love your feedback on this initiative or other ideas you may have that increase access to preventative dental care for seniors and students.
Missing Money/Unclaimed Property
As the result of successful legislation in recent years that is now law, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has in place a secure site that allows Minnesotans to check on their unclaimed property. Common types of unclaimed property can include:
- Dormant bank accounts
- Uncashed checks
- Unclaimed wages
- Insurance claim payments or benefits
- Stocks or bonds
- Safe deposit boxes
If you, or someone you know has left a job or moved, this may be of interest to you! The Department is responsible for safeguarding the funds until claimed by the rightful owners. Check to see if you have missing money waiting for you here.
Tax Write-offs for Minnesota Teachers
The IRS recently announced that teachers who purchased COVID-19 protective equipment last year can write them off on their 2020 taxes.
COVID-19 protective items include, but are not limited to:
- face masks;
- disinfectant for use against COVID-19;
- hand soap;
- hand sanitizer;
- disposable gloves;
- tape, paint or chalk to guide social distancing;
- physical barriers (for example, clear plexiglass);
- air purifiers; and
- other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
More information is available here.
COVID-19 trends in Minnesota are headed in the right direction, with case numbers and positivity rates trending downward. The federal government is gradually increasing the supply of doses, and the state is adapting the process to ensure that the vaccines we receive are distributed more effectively and equitably. So far, 599,218 Minnesotans have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 117,239 have completed the series. More information is available on the state’s Vaccine Data Dashboard.
Plymouth residents who are 65 or older can use this tool to find nearby vaccine providers and make an appointment. As I mentioned above, there is still a limited amount of vaccine, so appointments may not be available everywhere. Let’s stay vigilant in our efforts to keep each other safe by masking, distancing, washing our hands frequently, avoiding large in-door gatherings and getting tested if we feel sick.
Keep in Touch
Thank you for emailing and calling- your input is crucial in this work! Please contact me anytime with questions or to let me know how I can be of assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-5511.
It’s an honor to serve our Plymouth residents and families in the Minnesota House.
Stay warm this weekend.