Renters and homeowners in Pennsylvania may qualify for benefits that can help to cover their housing costs, including property taxes and utilities.
Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
The Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is available to income-eligible homeowners or renters in Pennsylvania who are 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 maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.
The deadline to apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate is June 30, 2021. Applications can be filed online through the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Applicants can also download the application or request one in the mail. Property Tax/Rent Rebate application assistance is available at no cost from Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and state legislators’ offices.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps income-eligible individuals to pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Grants range from $200 to $1,000 based on household size, income, and fuel type. The cash grant is a one-time payment sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider to be credited to the applicants’ bill.
The deadline for the Pennsylvania 2020-2021 LIHEAP season is April 30, 2021. Applications can be submitted online using COMPASS, the online tool for Pennsylvanians to apply for health and human service programs. Applicants can also download a paper application, print it, fill it out, and return it to their local county assistance office. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services offers an online tool for individuals to check their eligibility and expected grant amount before they apply.
Philadelphia COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program
The city of Philadelphia is currently accepting application for Phase 4 of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (PHLRentAssist). Through PHLRentAssist, the City of Philadelphia has been offering emergency rental assistance to help tenants and landlords who have been impacted by COVID-19.
The current Phase 4 will help between 10,000 and 15,000 Philadelphia renters who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible, renters must: 1. Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI); 2. Qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced some other financial hardship due to COVID-19; and 3. Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Tenants can meet this criteria if they have any past-due rent, past due utilities, received an eviction notice, or are paying over one third of their household income on rent.
Landlords and tenants can apply. If a landlord applies, their tenant must be eligible, and they must get written consent from their tenant. If a landlord does not wish to participate, the rental assistance can be paid directly to the tenant.
Applications can be submitted online. For more information, call the rental assistance hotline at 215-320-7880. The Philly 311 phone operators are available to assist with questions about the rental assistance program between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.