The Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate program provides rebates for lower income homeowners and renters. An annual rebate of up to $650 is available to Pennsylvania residents who are age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older.
Applicants must meet strict income guidelines to qualify for a rebate. The income eligibility limits are $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters. One half of the Social Security income is included in calculating income.
Because one-half of Social Security income is included in calculating eligibility, a Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) can put people over the limit. (Social Security has recently announced a 1.7% increase for 2015).
A new law (House Bill 1067 – Act 156) provides some temporary relief from ineligibility due to COLA increases. The Act provides that persons who, as of December 31, 2012, are eligible for the property tax or rent rebate shall remain eligible if the household income limit is exceeded due solely to a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.
Any homeowner who receives Social Security, was paid a property tax rebate in 2013 for claim year 2012 and had annual income up to $35,298 last year is encouraged to apply for a rebate for claim year 2013. The deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2013 is Dec. 31, 2014.
Renters who receive Social Security, were paid a rent rebate in 2013 for claim year 2012 and had annual incomes last year up to $15,128 are also encouraged to apply.
The Department of Revenue is automatically reviewing previously denied claim year 2013 applications where the rebate was denied for income in excess of $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters. In cases where the overage is due solely to Social Security COLAs, the department will reopen, process and pay these claims.
This COLA increase disregard expires on December 31, 2016.
More information is available through the PA Department of Revenue website: http://tinyurl.com/73vgcnq or by calling 1-888-222-9190. The Department’s press release regarding the new law is available here.