What happened to the N.J. Senior Freeze and Homestead Rebate in new state budget? | Commentary | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

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What happened to the N.J. Senior Freeze and Homestead Rebate in new state budget?

vandervalkCHARLOTTE071610_optBY CHARLOTTE VANDERVALK
ANALYSIS

The dust has settled on the FY 2010-11 State budget debate, but many seniors and the disabled are still uncertain about just what was decided. Specifically, they want to know what happened to the Senior Freeze and the Homestead Rebate.

The recently passed budget ensures that every current participant in the State's Property Tax Reimbursement Program (Senior Freeze) whose income for 2009 does not exceed last year's income limit of $70,000 will receive a reimbursement this year if they continue to meet the eligibility requirements. Reimbursement checks for eligible senior and disabled residents who filed their 2009 applications (PTR-2 form) by the original filing deadline of June 1 are scheduled to be mailed on or about July 15, 2010.

 

New applicants will not receive a payment in fiscal 2011, but should apply (PTR 1 form) anyway because doing so will establish a base year when benefits in future years. Further information about the PTR program and copies of applications can be obtained online or by calling 1-800-882-6597. The deadline for filing has been extended to August 2, 2010.

Homestead rebate applications are not being distributed this summer and fall because of the shift to a payment via direct credits on property tax bills which will being with the May, 2011 quarterly property tax bills.

Under the new Homestead Credit program, if you are 65 years of age and over at the end of the tax year or blind or disabled with a gross income of less than $100,000 in 2009, you are eligible for quarterly credits of one-quarter of 20% of the first $10,000 of property taxes paid or a maximum of $500 per quarter. For seniors and disabled with a gross income of $100,000 to $150,000 in 2009, the credit amount is one-quarter of 10% of the first $10,000 of property taxes paid or a maximum of $250 per quarter. These monies will be directly deducted from your property tax bill beginning in May, 2011. Applications for the new Homestead Credit will be distributed nearer to the May 2011 deadline.

Why the change? The Homestead Rebate has traditionally been mailed to recipients in the form of a check sometime in August or September. Since the State runs on a fiscal year of July 1 through June 30th, this put the rebate payment in the first quarter of the State's fiscal year. Last year, then Governor Corzine had to borrow money so that the rebate checks did not bounce. There simply was not yet enough revenue generated to the State in the first quarter of its fiscal year to cover the checks. This meant that the program cost the State the amount of the rebates, plus the interest on the debt of the borrowed monies, plus the cost of production and mailing of the checks. Beginning the program in May of 2011 and having the payment deducted over the four quarters of the State's fiscal year allows for revenues to come into the State's coffers to cover the cost of the credited monies and negates the need to borrow money. By having it as a credit on the tax bill itself, homeowners will see an immediate reduction in their property tax bill and will not have to wait a year for a rebated amount.

Because of the timing of the implementation — going from the first quarter of the State's fiscal year to the last quarter — there will be no homestead rebate or credit monies issued within calendar year 2010. Unfortunately, this delay will be a very real problem for those who depend upon these monies coming at the end of the summer/beginning of the fall. However, once the conversion from a rebate to a credit program is in place, the new credit program should be faster, easier and more timely.

Charlotte Vandervalk, R-Bergen, has represented District 39 in the General Assembly since 1991.

 
Comments (14)
14 Tuesday, 07 February 2012 18:42
senoir 3
There should be a senior property tax freeze at age 65 for those with incomes of $50,000 or less,state-wide, as they are most vulnerable to heath problems, poverty and expenditures.
These problems would drift to other gov expenditures in the future. A unilateral freeze would also demonstrate good intention and save big $ in government management spending which oversees other programs.
Guess the message here is KISS
13 Saturday, 17 December 2011 12:05
Hamilton Resident
Gov Christie, I have received my tax bill for the first quarter of 2011 and would like to thank you. I don't have to tell you how bad this State is in thanks to many of the previous Govenors, majority of which were Democrats. I have never voted for a Party, I have voted for the best one running. I feel at times you have made mistakes, for the most part you are doing your best. I have been an AFSCME worker for over 28 years and have had my health benefits paid for, it was one of the reasons I became a public employee. Oh, one thing that ticks me off, my Union dues go to the Democrats! I received a letter asking me if I wanted to walk, pre-election this past November and my Union would pay me $50 to do so!!!!! That's how those DEMS get the crowd increased! Hang in there Gov. Christie

To all the previous entries, does JON CORZINE ring a bell people? "I'm so sorry, I don't know where the 1.? BILLION IS!"
12 Monday, 20 June 2011 14:01
clement falzarano
get off your fat ass and vote all of them out there a bunch of bull they just take care of themselfs
11 Tuesday, 31 May 2011 09:51
Mary Ann
are there changes to the amount of property tax amount that we deducted from the year we froze our taxes and when will we receive our checks
10 Wednesday, 23 February 2011 19:26
poor newjerseyan
The governor should only make 50,000 a year we would save millions by cutting his pay.
9 Monday, 29 November 2010 17:20
Gerald Gunser
Forget about changing anything with your vote. ALL Politicians are LIARS AND THIEVES.
8 Sunday, 10 October 2010 11:23
crazy
lying gov., seniors must die because of you, they can't pay for medicine or pills, you took more money from us and raised property taxes, you are a disgrace from this state it seems this is acomunist state owned.. your going to buy more cemetary's for more seniors, shame on you gov...
7 Wednesday, 22 September 2010 02:18
lucie Ann
I am a disabled senior I lived in my home for 43 years.Every year the taxes went up.when I started to get senior freeze on my taxes it helped.Now that the freeze came to a halt they put my taxes up almost 3 thousand dollars.My check is only 740.00.. a month how am I going to pay these taxes.I would not even get it back from the senior freeze.I do with out every month.Thats how I live no money in my pocket at all.I only by food, it makes be feel sad I can not even buy anything for my grandchilden.Wy did you lie to us.Us seniors worked all our lives for what? To be cast aside liked beggers.If I do not get help I will lose my home .I do not sleep at night from worry I l.love my home ,it's not the greatest but I worked for it.I live in Bloomfield ,I do not know what they do with all this money.Please do not treat us seniors like we are not good for anything anymore just in the way.
6 Thursday, 19 August 2010 17:07
LK2010
The most vulnerable NJ residents are screwed again. Thanks, Gov
5 Monday, 16 August 2010 17:22
Unimportant
Governor, you made us think you were different. We have learned the hard way you are not any different. Yet you are republican, shame on you.
4 Friday, 13 August 2010 11:26
jv
The bottom line here is that those who received their rebates are not only chiseled out of their rebates for one year, it will be most of the second year of this before the missing year is realized, something for which the original NJ State Income Tax was supposed to pay in the first place. You just can never, never spend enough money on a public servant!
3 Monday, 02 August 2010 09:10
pragmatist
granted, many low income seniors benefitted from this program (homestead rebate), but so did seniors making up to 150,000.00 a year. In fact, seniors making 150,000.00 will still supposedly qualify for whatever credit we are getting next year, yet non seniors making over 75000.00 (thats married couples too) won't.

can someone tell me why a senior making 135,000.00 a year has a rougher time and needs prop tax relief more than a non senior couple with 3 kids making 90,000.00 doesnt?

These programs need SERIOUS reworking
2 Tuesday, 27 July 2010 12:37
Home owner
This is a shame that this has to happen to good people who worked all their lives in NJ to make it the state that it is today . That the Fat ass politician who think they know what the people need or want need to be ran out of town !!!! God help us all .....
1 Friday, 23 July 2010 08:38
mad
seniors can't aford to live in this state any more, too many rich politicians get into office and poor people suffer, shame on you governer you are rich and can to live .this state taxes the highest and you made no effort to lower them only adding salt to the wounds, you had people you would lower property taxes and you lied too the people , more nj people will have to leave this state because , other states can live with the taxes fare below this taxes, shame on you gov, your the same as the others who nwere in office. (senior p.off)

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