WILKES-BARRE — Teresa Gray was glad she stopped by the Charles T. Adams Active Adult Center on Wednesday.
Gray, 57, of Wilkes-Barre, was one of 75 seniors who took advantage of state Sen. John Yudichak’s offer to have his staff assist them in filing applications for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.
“This is the first time I’ve filed for the rebate,” Gray said. “I needed help with the forms and I found out today I’m eligible for a rebate.”
Gray said getting a rebate will help her pay bills.
“Every dollar helps,” she said. “Especially in today’s economy.”
Eligible residents can file for rebates on property taxes or rent paid in 2013 and about 60 seniors had scheduled appointments at the center on East Market Street.
Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, said the rebate program is supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming. Since the program began in 1971, older adults and adults with disabilities have received $5.4 billion in property tax and rent rebates.
“It is great for us to get out into the district and into our senior centers and housing complexes to make sure that all eligible residents are applying for the program,” Yudichak said.
Since mid-February, Yudichak’s staff has helped local senior citizens apply for more than $125,000 in Property Tax and Rent Rebates. Eligible seniors can get a rebate check of up to $650.
Delores Wawiernia of Duryea said she was glad she came to the senior center to get help.
“Taxes go up every year and without this help I could lose my home that I’ve been living in for 66 years,” she said.
Doreen Evanko, director at the Wilkes-Barre center, said the program is a valuable resource for all seniors.
“For seniors living on a fixed income, the rebate can be used in any number of ways and it is a great help to have Sen. Yudichak’s staff to assist in preparing applications and answering any questions they may have,” she said.
Some facts about the program:
• The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 and older, and people with disabilities 18 and older.
• The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, with half of Social Security income excluded.
• The maximum standard rebate is $650. Supplemental rebates for homeowners who qualify can increase them to $975.
• Last year, 13,235 homeowners and 6,668 renters in Luzerne County benefited from property tax and rent rebates, according to the Department of Revenue. That added up to more than $3.5 million in rent rebates, more than $5.1 million in property tax rebates and $860,091 in property tax rebate supplements
• The application deadline for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2013 is June 30, 2014.
Yudichak said it’s free to apply for a tax or rent rebate.