State releasing property tax and rent rebates early

According to Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella, the state's first batch of property tax rebate checks have been mailed out to people who qualify – mostly retirees and people with disabilities, who meet income qualifications.

HARRISBURG – The state Treasury began mailing out 111,000 property tax rebate checks Tuesday, six weeks earlier than normal, thanks to legislation signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.

The aim is to provide another financial boost to help people weather the economic crisis prompted by the state's business shutdown aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus, Treasurer Joe Torsella said.

Torsella said that in addition to the first batch of checks, the state will be mailing about 60,000 rebate checks a week to people who qualify – mostly retirees and people with disabilities, who meet income qualifications.

The initial round of rebate checks will cost $50 million, with the following weeks payments amounting to about $30 million a week -- funds that will come out of the state Lottery fund, Torsella said.

“There are sufficient funds in the Lottery fund to do that,” Torsella said. “As public officials, all of us in state government are working to find every way we can to help Pennsylvanians get through this health and financial crisis,” said Torsella.

Typically, the state pays property tax and rent rebates to about 400,000 people, he said.

The state normally releases the rent rebates beginning on July 1. The move to provide the funding early was enabled by House Bill 1076, which passed both chambers of the General Assembly with unanimous votes.

“This common sense solution gives thousands of our older and vulnerable residents their rebates early when they need it,” Wolf said.

While the treasury has already begun mailing rebate payments, those eligible can still apply through the rest of the year.

“We have every intent that everyone who qualifies will get that relief, Torsella said.

The maximum rebate is $650. The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

Applicants who included their bank account information on their Property Tax/Rent Rebate application form (PA-1000) will receive their rebates through direct deposit. Applicants who requested a paper check to be mailed to them should expect to receive their payment in the mail.

The form to apply is available online at:

https://www.revenue.pa.gov/FormsandPublications/FormsforIndividuals/PTRR/Pages/default.aspx

CNHI PA State Reporter

CNHI State Reporter John Finnerty covers the Pennsylvania Statehouse for CNHI's newspapers and websites. Follow him on Twitter @cnhipa. Email him at jfinnerty@cnhi.com.

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