State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon/Monroe) is reminding older area residents that the deadline is quickly approaching to file for Pennsylvania's Property Tax/Rent Rebate program.

"As the busy holiday season begins some people eligible for the rebates may have forgotten the deadline is Dec. 31," said Yudichak. "I urge everyone who qualifies for the program to take advantage of this important benefit for older Pennsylvanians."

Eligible older adults and residents with disabilities have until Dec. 31 to apply for rebates of up to $975 from the program. It costs nothing to apply for a rebate. Free filing assistance is available at Senator Yudichak's district offices in Exeter, Nanticoke and Jim Thorpe. Application forms and assistance are also available at no cost from Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, and senior centers.

Yudichak also warned area seniors about a company that is sending out notices offering to help people file for the rebates for a fee.

"There is no need for anyone to pay for the service when there is assistance available for free. Thousands of people participate in this important program and they should not be spending any money to file their application," added Yudichak.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and information are also available online at www.PaPropertyTaxRelief.com and by calling 1-888-222-9190, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To speed processing, claimants are reminded to provide all required income property tax or rent information. Applications must be postmarked by Monday, Dec. 31.

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 maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying home owners can boost rebates to $975.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one of five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Since the program started in 1971, older adults and adults with disabilities have received $4.8 billion in property tax and rent rebates. The expanded portion of the rebate program is being paid for with revenue from the gaming industry.