COSTA ACTS TO PROTECT SENIORS’ RENT REBATE CHECKS
HOMESTEAD, Sept. 16, 2010 – State Sen. Jay Costa (D- Allegheny) today introduced legislation that would ban landlords from reaping an individual’s rent rebate check.
“These state benefits are designed to help low income senior citizens and disabled people make ends meet, not serve as some financial perk for unscrupulous landlords,” Costa said.
Costa’s legislation (Senate Bill 1470) would make it unlawful for a landlord and tenant to enter into any agreement that requires the tenant to pay or assign to the landlord any part of the tenant’s rent rebate check. Any landlord who violates the law would be required to fully reimburse the tenant, along with penalties and interest on the rebate amount due the tenant.
Costa said his bill is designed to prevent people from preying on benefits due senior citizens.
The Property Tax and Rent Rebate program benefits Pennsylvanians who are 65 years old and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older.
In 2006, Costa acted to increase eligibility and rebate amounts. He voted to increase the income limit for eligible homeowners from $15,000 to $35,000 and also raise the maximum rebate for homeowners and renters from $500 to $650.
Seniors living in Pittsburgh with incomes under $30,000, and those outside of the city with incomes under $30,000 who pay more than 15 percent of their income toward property taxes, are eligible for a supplemental property tax rebate of up to $325, on top of standard rebates, Costa said.
Costa, who serves as Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led the fight to provide an extra rebate boost for city seniors due to the high wage tax rate. As a result, eligible senior households in Pittsburgh with incomes under $30,000 will have their property tax rebate increased by an additional 50 percent.
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