About 500,000 Pennsylvanians who benefit from the state’s property tax and rent rebate program will be receiving their checks six weeks earlier than usual, state officials announced Tuesday.

The move will help some of the state’s most vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic, state Treasurer Joe Torsella said.

The rebates, which range from $650 to $975, are issued to residents who are older than 65, widows and widowers older than 50. They are also extended to people with disabilities earning less than $35,000 annually for homeowners and $15,000 per year for renters. Half of Social Security benefits are excluded from income requirements.

The program started in 1971 and is supported by revenue from the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Gov. Tom Wolf called providing the rebates early a “commonsense solution” to help people now.

The rebates are generally sent out July 1 in one batch, Torsella said.

About 110,000 checks were sent out Tuesday and the Treasury department will send out 60,000 rebates each week, processing applications and sending out the rebates on a first-come/first served basis, Torsella said.

“We’re doing everything we can to help. It is the right thing to do,” he said.

The deadline to apply for a rebate has also been extended to Dec. 31.

For information about the program, click here.