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New Law Offers Property Tax Relief for Older Middle Class NYC Homeowners

Some 32,000 older middle class homeowners in New York City are now eligible for property tax breaks, thanks to legislation Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law.

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Boffeli, Seth

AARP today praised the Governor and the bill’s sponsors, Senator Diane Savino and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh.

The new law ( S4628A/ A7463A) increases the income threshold for homeowners 65 and over to qualify for programs that freeze their property tax bills – potentially saving them up to $1,750 a year.

Now, those with incomes up to $58,400 annually - up from $37,400 – qualify for the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE) and Disability Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE) programs.

“Affordable housing is the key to keeping New York City age-friendly, and property owners, just like renters, face obstacles to paying their housing costs,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “For many older middle class homeowners - especially those on fixed incomes - property tax bill increases can make their own homes cost-prohibitive. AARP thanks Governor Cuomo, Senator Savino, Assemblyman Kavanagh and the Legislature for addressing this issue.”

The income threshold under the two programs was last increased 11 years ago. Currently, 57,000 city homeowners are enrolled in SCHE or DRE.

“Our seniors and disabled New Yorkers, who live on fixed incomes, deserve to reside in their communities without the fear of losing their homes,” said Senator Diane Savino (Staten Island). “Many of our senior citizens choose to age in place in the neighborhoods where they’ve raised their families, worked and enjoyed throughout their lives. SCHE and DHE will yield significant property tax savings for these New York City residents and I thank AARP for their constant support in advocating for such important proposals to improve the lives of our seniors.”

“Giving property tax breaks to more seniors and people with disabilities who own their homes is an important step forward in our continuing efforts to ensure that our communities are affordable,” said Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh (Manhattan). “This law will help thousands of New Yorkers to remain in their homes and their neighborhoods. I thank Senator Savino, Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Heastie, Governor Cuomo, our colleagues in government in both parties, and all the advocates, seniors, and people with disabilities who supported this critical legislation.”

An AARP/Siena College poll last year found housing costs are having a “serious impact” on the financial condition of 72% of city Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, while a whopping 89% said the availability of affordable housing is a “significant problem.”

The city’s median income has decreased since the last SCHE/DRE income threshold increase in 2006 while the cost of living for most has increased steadily.

Plus, the vast majority of older New Yorkers are on fixed incomes, and benefits like Social Security have seen little or no increase over the last decade.

The law will take effect shortly after the New York City Council passes legislation to enable the raised income levels. Mayor de Blasio supports the plan and included it in his Executive Budget.

Potential beneficiaries will have 120 days to apply for the program for this year after the city enacts its legislation. Those who applied but were rejected this year will be re-processed for eligibility.  If a qualifying resident already paid taxes, the city’s Department of Finance would issue a credit.

The new law will allow thousands of city residents to remain in the homes and communities they love.

SCHE/DHE at up to $58,400
 Income Range Abatement
$57,500 - $58,400 5%
$56,600 - $57,499 10.0%
$55,700 - $56,599 15.0%
$54,800 - $55,699 20.0%
$53,900 - $54,799 25.0%
$53,000 - $53,899 30.0%
$52,000 - $52,999 35.0%
$50,100 - $51,999 40.0%
$50,001 - $50,999 45.0%
$0 - $50,000 50.0%

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