Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more
PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Bill Kortz speaks on the House floor in support of expanding video gambling to small clubs and taverns. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Bill Kortz speaks on a House Resolution designating the month of November 2015 as "Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month" in Pennsylvania. Kortz is a co-chair of the Alzheimer's Caucus. Read more
DRAVOSBURG, June 4 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, reminds Pennsylvania seniors 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older and disabled adults that they may be eligible for the state's Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. The application deadline for a rebate on rent or taxes paid in 2014 has been extended through Dec. 31. Eligibility is based on income. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, but half of Social Security income is excluded for both groups. The maximum property tax rebate for most people is $650, but some applicants may qualify for an additional supplemental rebate of up to 50 percent. "The constituent service specialists in my offices can answer any questions about the program," Kortz said. "They can also help you complete an application if you qualify." The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one of five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since the program’s 1971 inception, older and disabled adults have received more than $5.6 billion in property tax and rent relief. The expanded portion of the rebate program is paid for with revenue from slots gaming. Kortz reminds residents who would like assistance to bring their 2014 income tax records and proof of rent or property taxes paid in 2014 to his offices at 751 Pittsburgh-McKeesport Road, Dravosburg or 5101 Old Clairton Road, Pittsburgh. For more information Read more
PITTSBURGH, May 29 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, today discussed legislation that would exempt volunteer emergency responders from paying fees that total more than $47 for state and federal background clearances. Costa, who was joined by fellow lawmakers from the Allegheny Delegation, volunteer firefighters and emergency responders at Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department, said that the financial burden on volunteers was an unintended consequence of changes to the state’s child abuse laws and that at least one bill in the House of Representatives, H.B. 1081 , would begin to right that wrong. He said that the bill would spare paid and volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service responders from the $10 clearances from the state police and state Department of Human Services. “I know that many, if not all of the volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel, are prepared to do their due diligence, but let’s remember that these are the same firefighters and first responders who save the commonwealth millions of dollars, protect our communities, and most significantly, save lives – all while placing their own lives at risk,” Costa said. “We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and more, and at the very least the state should recognize their sacrifice and contributions by doing these background and clearance checks at no charge to them.” House Bill 1081 has garnered significant bipartisan support and has been sent to Read more
State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced that the 2014 Pennsylvania trout stocking schedules are now available for pickup in his constituent service offices, 751 Pittsburgh-McKeesport Blvd. and 5101 Old Clairton Road, Pittsburgh. Read more
I am happy to let you know that the state House of Representatives has taken a strong step toward protecting our school-aged children from cyber-bullying with the passage of H.B. 229 Monday afternoon.
This bill would make it a crime to threaten a child through electronic communication. Repeatedly commenting on a child's sexual orientation, sexual activity, mental health or physical characteristics would also be treated as a crime. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, was sworn in today to a fifth term as the 38th House District representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Read more
Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more
Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed.
Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed.
Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you.
Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote.
The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses.
House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session.
According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more
As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more
The open enrollment period for health care coverage is now underway. If you or someone you know is in need of health insurance, please consider visiting the federal Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov. Applicants have until Feb. 16, 2015 to enroll.
Everyone, no matter what age, needs health insurance. A random accident or unexpected illness could put you in danger of losing not only your good health but also your financial future. Read more
To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. Read more
While it may be the season for charitable giving, scammers don't take a holiday. The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple way to ensure a charity is legitimate and that your donation will be used properly. Read more
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