Cusick: Measures to Lower Cost-of-Living for Seniors Becomes Law

New laws raise income eligibility levels for tax relief
September 16, 2003

Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) announced that the governor has signed legislation he authored that increases income eligibility for the “Over 65” property tax exemption to $24,000 (Ch. 512 of 2003).

“Increasing income eligibility levels for programs like the “Over 65” tax exemption will help even more seniors afford to stay in their homes and in their communities,” said Cusick.

Cusick’s bill allows localities to increase the maximum income level up to $24,000 from $21,500 for a 50 percent property tax exemption from municipal and school district taxes.

Localities may also grant an exemption of less than 50% to senior citizens whose incomes exceed the local income limit. For example, in a community that has taken this “sliding-scale” option and adopts the $24,000 income maximum, an eligible resident whose income is more than $24,000 but less than $25,000, is entitled to a 45 percent exemption. Those making the maximum income level of up to $32,400 would be eligible for a 5 percent exemption.

“Now that the governor has signed this legislation into law, I urge Mayor Bloomberg to opt into this measure to help more seniors in New York City to save money on their tax bills,” Cusick said.

Other bills the governor recently signed into law will increase income eligibility for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program (Ch. 382 of 2003) and the exemption for persons with disabilities to $24,000 (Ch. 462 of 2003).

To be eligible for SCRIE, one must be 62 years of age or older, and live in a rent controlled, regulated or stabilized apartment where the monthly rent exceeds one-third the monthly household income.

“It’s been eight years since the income level for SCRIE eligibility has been adjusted and each year seniors receive cost-of-living increases in their pensions and social security benefits risk losing their eligibility,” Cusick said. “By increasing SCRIE’s eligibility limit to $24,000, participating seniors can continue saving money.”

“These new laws will help people living on fixed incomes maintain their independence,” Cusick said.