By Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks)
Starting on March 19, my district office in the Lower Macungie Township Administration Building will be offering a Senior Day, by appointment, on the third Wednesday of every month. Senior citizens living on fixed incomes are facing a lot of financial challenges. My staff can assist seniors with applications or provide more information on any programs that may be available to them at no cost, to help ease some of the stress. Please do not think you need to pay a third party for assistance with these forms.
One the most popular programs for seniors is the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The deadline to file for the 2020 tax year program is June 30, 2021.
The Commonwealth also offers low-cost prescription assistance programs for older adults called PACE and PACENET. Eligibility requirements for the two programs vary slightly, but the underlying requirements are an applicant must be age 65 or older, be a Pennsylvania resident for at least 90 days, and not be enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program. Yearly income requirements for PACE are $14,500 or less for a single person and $17,700 for a married couple. For PACENET, the yearly income limits are between $14,500 and $27,500 for a single person and between $17,700 and $35,500 for a married couple.
We can also help with programs from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) such as the reduced vehicle registration fee and handicap placards. Retirees with a total income up to $19,500 could be eligible for a reduced vehicle registration fee of $10 per year through PennDOT. We can file the paperwork for individuals who meet the criteria for a handicap placard and have been certified by an authorized provider.
Another program available to low-income families and individuals is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that offers a cash grant to pay for heating bills to those who qualify. Households in immediate danger of being without heat can also qualify for crisis grants. The cash grant is a one-time payment sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider to be credited on your bill.
There are several other services available to senior citizens. As always, seniors are welcome any time to come to the office for assistance, but I encourage older adults and their caretakers or family members to schedule an appointment for my monthly Senior Day to learn more. It will be held at my district office at the Lower Macungie Township Administration Building, 3402 Brookside Road in Macungie. Please call the office at 610-965-9933 to schedule an appointment as they are necessary.
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Matthew Deegan