Applications for the state's Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for 2005 will be available beginning February 15, announced Rep. Art Hershey(R-Chester).

Pennsylvania's Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits people who are 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and disabled people 18 or older. People who meet the age requirements and whose household income is less than $15,000 may receive a refund of up to $500 based on the amount of property tax or rent they paid during the previous year. Those who apply can deduct half of any Social Security--including Medicare premiums--or railroad retirement benefits from other income when determining eligibility.

Hershey also offers these helpful hints to those applying for the program this year:

* Residents can receive a property tax or rent rebate only on a residence they occupied during the period for which a rebate is claimed.

* If applicants own a residence, they must have paid their property taxes prior to filing for a rebate. Renters need to make certain their landlords paid property taxes on the rental property.

* Residents can file a claim for a deceased individual. Their name should be entered as the "Estate of." In addition to the other information on the application, a copy of Letters of Administration or the short certificate must be attached. The deceased individual must have been alive for the entire year.

* Residents must also be able to verify that they paid property taxes or rent. Proof can include receipted tax bills for owners and rent certificates or rent receipts for renters.

* If applicants are claiming a rebate because they are disabled, they need to submit proof that they are receiving disability benefits from a federal agency or program. If applicants are not covered by any disability program, they must submit a complete medical report from their family physician.

* Applications must be filed by June 30.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since it began in 1971, the program has paid out more than $3.09 billion to qualified applicants. Each year, more than 330,000 older Pennsylvanians benefit from this program.

For more information on or to receive assistance in filling out the form please contact Hershey's district office at (610) 593-6565, or visit the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Web site at www.revenue.state.pa.us.

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