Moosic, PA — Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Secretary Pat Browne and Department of Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich today visited the Senior Health Fair in Moosic, Lackawanna County, to speak directly with older Pennsylvanians who will benefit from the expansion of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate (PTRR) program. Governor Josh Shapiro recently signed a historic expansion of the program into law, making good on the commitment he made to older Pennsylvanians to help ease the burden of rising costs.
Under the expansion first proposed by the Governor, nearly 175,000 additional Pennsylvanians will be eligible for a rebate, including an estimated 3,900 people in Lackawanna County. Additionally, of the approximately 9,100 people in Lackawanna County who already receive a rebate through the PTRR program, the majority will see their rebates increase starting next year when the maximum standard rebate increases to $1,000 (up from $650). Overall, roughly 430,000 Pennsylvanians currently qualify for the PTRR program.
"We are traveling throughout the Commonwealth to make sure that everyone knows that the PTRR program will be available to thousands of new applicants when the next application period opens in January 2024," said Secretary Browne. "For more than 50 years, this program has been a lifeline for older Pennsylvanians and others with disabilities, helping many of them to stay in the comfort of their homes. Our staff at the Department of Revenue is ready to help every eligible Pennsylvanian navigate the application process so that they receive a rebate that will make a big difference in their lives."
"The Department of Aging has heard from many older adults and our aging network partners across the Commonwealth that affordable housing is a big concern. We want to see older adults remain in their homes and communities for as long as they are able. The popular Property Tax/Rent Rebate program can help ease the burden of paying mortgage or rent along with the high costs of just about everything while putting money back into older adults' pockets," said Secretary Kavulich. "The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program has been a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. Now with the program's expansion, it will not only provide more older adults the opportunity to receive a rebate, but many will see a payout increase."
"Over the past two decades, Social Security benefits have increased more than 50 percent. Meanwhile, the PTRR program income caps remained unchanged. Governor Shapiro recognized that many Pennsylvanians have been dissatisfied with the Rebate Program. He immediately took positive steps to correct it now and for the future," said Howard McIntosh, Lackawanna County resident.
What to Expect on PTRR Expansion
The first thing that eligible PTRR applicants should know is that the PTRR program expansion takes effect in 2024. That means that eligible Pennsylvanians interested in taking advantage of the PTRR program expansion do not need to take any immediate action to file their applications.
Starting in mid-January 2024, the Department of Revenue will open the filing period for eligible applicants to submit applications for rebates on property taxes and rent paid in 2023. Here are the changes that will take effect at that time under the program's new guidelines:
- First, the maximum standard rebate is increasing from $650 to $1,000.
- Second, the income cap for both renters and homeowners will be made equal and increase to $45,000 a year.
- Third, the income caps will be tied to the cost-of-living moving forward, meaning those who receive a rebate won't lose their eligibility in the future due to no fault of their own.
Importantly, the eligibility criteria will stay the same, meaning the program will continue to benefit eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older.
The process and filing systems that are already in place — and that have served PTRR applicants for years — will also continue to remain the same. The Department of Revenue will release detailed information on the filing process prior to the next claim season opening in January 2024. In the meantime, you can visit Revenue's website for helpful information: Expansion to Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program – Changes Coming in 2024
About the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program
Since its inception in 1971, the PTRR program has delivered more than $8 billion in property tax and rent relief to some of Pennsylvania's most vulnerable residents. The PTRR program is supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery and receives funding from gaming.
It's free to apply for a rebate, and applicants are reminded that free assistance is available at hundreds of locations across the state, including Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers, and state legislators' offices.
As a reminder, applicants must reapply for rebates every year because rebates are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid in each year. Any person who filed for a 2022 Property Tax/Rent Rebate by paper will automatically be mailed a paper instruction booklet/application form.
Note: Video and photos of the event are available at PAcast.com.