Thousands of low-income York County homeowners and renters could be eligible for checks from the state's Property Tax/Rent Rebate program.

Applications became available last week for rebates on property taxes or rent paid in 2013; the program is funded by the state lottery.

Last year, the average rebate for York County residents was $476, and 18,568 renters and homeowners claimed checks, according to state data. Dec. 31 was the deadline to apply for rebates for rent or property taxes paid in 2012.

The program is open to residents age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities who are age 18 and older. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but qualifying homeowners can get as much as $325 more.

The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 a year for renters, with half of Social Security income excluded.

While there are businesses that offer help completing the application for a fee, applying is free and the forms and assistance are available free at York area state legislators' offices, the York County Area Agency on Aging, and senior centers across the county.

Assistance is also available by calling the Department of Revenue 1-888-222-9190, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Forms (PA-1000) and information are available online at www.revenue.state.pa.us.

The application deadline for property taxes or rent paid in 2013 is June 30, 2014. Rebates will begin being distributed on July 1.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.