FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Dante Santoni, Jr.
Santoni warns older residents to beware of rebate scam
HARRISBURG, Dec. 13 – State Rep. Dante Santoni, D-Berks, is urging senior citizens to be cautious of mailings and other unsolicited offers that attempt to charge consumers a fee for help with Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.
Santoni said several Berks-area seniors brought to his attention a mailing from a non-government agency in Harrisburg identifying itself as the Senior Advisory Center. The company offers to fill out senior citizens' Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms, and asks for income and homeownership information, as well as a $39 processing fee that can be paid by check, money order or credit card.
"Numerous seniors in Berks County and throughout the state have received a solicitation from this company, including people who have already filed for and received their rebate," Santoni said. "The letter is confusing, misleading and certainly deceptive. I am particularly concerned that this so-called business is asking for credit card and other personal information, and demanding the money up front. It is sad to see people trying to take advantage of others."
Santoni said seniors and others applying for the state's Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are not required to pay an application fee. Application forms and assistance are available at no cost from Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and state legislators' offices. More information is available on the Department of Revenue website, www.revenue.state.pa.us.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program provides rebates of up to $650 based on rent or property taxes paid. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and those 18 or older with permanent disabilities. The income limit for homeowners is $35,000; the income limit for renters is $15,000. Applicants need only count half of their Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits when applying.
The deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2009 is Dec. 31. Santoni's office is located at 4933 Kutztown Road, Temple. The phone number is 610-921-8921.