Friday, August 25, 2023

Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Visits Mahanoy City to Talk Aiding Older Pennsylvanians with Escalating Living Costs

Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich visited the Mahanoy City Community Center on Friday morning to talk to about developments aimed at aiding older Pennsylvanians grappling with escalating living costs.

The purpose of his visit was to engage directly with the senior residents set to benefit from the augmented Property Tax/Rent Rebate (PTRR) program. This initiative comes in the wake of an expansion of the program into law dedicated to alleviating financial pressures on elderly citizens.

Secretary Kavulich's said, "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."

Under this expansion, nearly 175,000 additional Pennsylvanians are set to qualify for rebates, an estimated 3,200 of them hailing from Schuylkill County. 

Moreover, among the approximately 7,700 PTRR beneficiaries in Schuylkill County, a majority will witness an increase in their rebates as the maximum standard rebate escalates from $650 to $1,000. Overall, the PTRR program will now serve around 430,000 qualifying Pennsylvanians.

Secretary of Revenue Pat Browne said "We want 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. 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."

The PTRR program expansion is set to roll out in 2024, necessitating eligible applicants to note that no immediate action is required to submit applications. 

Starting in mid-January 2024, the Department of Revenue will initiate the filing period for eligible individuals to claim rebates on property taxes and rent payments from 2023. Key changes will include an increase in the maximum standard rebate to $1,000, equating the income cap for both renters and homeowners to $45,000 per annum, and tying income caps to the cost of living, ensuring ongoing eligibility.

Importantly, the eligibility criteria remain consistent, encompassing Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older, widows and widowers aged 50 and older, and individuals with disabilities aged 18 and above. The existing process, timeline, and filing systems will remain unchanged, promising a smooth transition for applicants.

Detailed instructions regarding the filing process will be disseminated by the Department of Revenue ahead of the opening of the next claim season in January 2024.

Pennsylvania Senator David Argall and Representative Dane Watro and Tim Twardzik also joined in the discussion.

Submitted Photos / PA Cast