BETHLEHEM, June 3, 2011 – State Senator Lisa M. Boscola today announced that the Commonwealth has extended the deadline for the state’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate program from June 30, 2011 to December 31, 2011.  She also reminded senior citizens, widows and widowers over the age of 50, and permanently disabled individuals over the age of 18 who qualify that they should apply for the program.

“Every year there are thousands of Pennsylvania residents who qualify for state assistance based upon their previous year’s property taxes or their rent payments but fail to apply,” Boscola said.  “I want to urge every person who may qualify to apply before the December 31st deadline.”

The Property Tax and Rent Rebate program provides a rebate of up to $650 on the combined amount of a senior’s real estate property taxes for the school district, county and local municipality paid in 2010.  If the senior rents an apartment, they may also be eligible for a rebate of up to $500.  The amount of the rebate is determined by a sliding scale based on annual household income.

To qualify, a homeowner’s combined household income in 2010 cannot exceed $35,000.  However, only half of an applicant’s Social Security income is included in that limit, Boscola said. Furthermore, an applicant must be at least 65 years old, or must be permanently disabled over the age of 18, or must be a widow or widower over the age of 50.

“Until we can finally eliminate the burden of local school property taxes for Older Pennsylvanians, a rebate check from the state can be a big help to someone living on a fixed income,” Boscola said.

“This is one more way that the State Lottery helps Older Pennsylvanians.  I would urge anyone over the age of 65 to apply—even if they’re not sure that they qualify.”

Those who have already applied can track the status of their rebates by visiting and entering their Social Security number, anticipated rebate amount and date of birth.  The Web site will provide claim status confirmation, the actual amount of the rebate and the date the rebate is expected to be mailed or direct-deposited.  Applicants can also use an automated phone service to check their rebate status by calling, toll-free, 1-888-PATAXES.

Since the Property Tax and Rent Rebate’s 1971 inception, more than $4.5 billion has been paid to eligible older adults and residents with disabilities.

Individuals who wish to apply or would like to request an application for the Pennsylvania Property Tax and Rent Rebate program should contact Senator Boscola’s office in Bethlehem at 610-868-8667, in Stroudsburg at 570-420-2938, in Whitehall at (610) 266-2117 or toll-free by calling 1-877-535-1818.

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