Shapiro Administration visits Senior Center in Shillington to highlight expansion of Property Tax/Rent Rebate program

Governor Josh Shapiro’s plan delivers the largest targeted tax cut for Pennsylvania seniors in nearly two decades.

Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Secretary Pat Browne and Department of Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich today visited Berks Encore – Mifflin Center in Shillington, Berks 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 5,700 people in Berks County. Additionally, of the approximately 14,000 people in Berks 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).

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“We are doing everything that we can to get the word out about the recent expansion of the PTRR program so that eligible Pennsylvanians know what to expect and have the information they need to secure assistance that will make a huge difference in their lives,” said Secretary of Revenue Pat Browne. “We recognize this program is a lifeline every year for hundreds of thousands of people, and many new applicants will be eligible for the program for the first time when the next filing period opens early in 2024. If you think you may be eligible, or have a friend or neighbor who may qualify, we are here and ready to help everyone navigate the application process.”

“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 of Aging Jason 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.”

“The expansion is important in that it will help people like me who, under the current system would not be eligible, to now get some relief in the form of a rebate. In my case, I will qualify under the new income limits since my income will be in the $35,000 to $45,000 range,” said Bob Coleman, Berks County resident and newly eligible PTRR recipient. “The rebate that I will be receiving will help pay for groceries or a utility bill, or even allow me to purchase something extra. For many Pennsylvanians who will qualify for even larger amounts, this will be huge, particularly for renters whose income limits are limited to $15,000 under the current system. They will now have the same threshold as homeowners, which will make many more people eligible.”

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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, timeline, 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. Information will also be updated on revenue.pa.gov/ptrr early next year.

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.

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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