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Committee OKs insurance payout reporting limit for seniors

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(The Center Square) – Updates to the newly expanded property tax and rent rebate program may provide additional relief for Pennsylvania’s growing senior population as two bills unanimously cleared the House Finance Committee this week.

Full passage, however, will have to wait until both the Senate and House return to session in 2024. The latter won’t reconvene for voting until March 18 after chamber roof repairs are complete.

The program currently requires seniors to report life insurance payouts over $5,000 as income when applying for the rebate. House Bill 1861 would raise this number to $10,000.

The higher number better reflects today’s insurance payouts. Legislators noted that many seniors take out these smaller policies to cover final expenses.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral in 2021 was $7,848, meaning seniors living on fixed incomes are not pocketing much extra cash when policies of this size are fulfilled.

The Department of Revenue projects that change would cost the state less than $100,000 annually.

The department also requested support for House Bill 1896, which gives them more freedom in issuing rebates.

The bill would allow them to send the money as soon as they’re approved rather than hold off till the current date of July 1. The change would allow seniors who complete their applications early to see the extra cash earlier.

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