(1st DISTRICT) – Assembly Democrats Nelson T. Albano and Matthew W. Milam are reminding eligible taxpayers who may be struggling financially that they have until the end of the month to apply to the Homestead Benefit and the Senior Freeze property tax relief program.

The final deadline for applying for the Homestead Benefit and the Senior Freeze property tax relief program is Monday, October 31. The Senior Freeze program was fully restored under the Democratic budget that Albano and Milam voted to approve earlier this summer.

“Times are rough for many residents, but particularly senior citizens living on fixed incomes,” said Albano. “We were able to restore funding for the Senior Freeze program, which will assist thousands of additional seniors in New Jersey. I hope those who are eligible will take advantage of the Senior Freeze, as well as the Homestead Benefit to help offset their expenses.”

“In these tough economic times, we can all use some property tax relief, especially seniors balancing property taxes with other financial responsibilities on fixed incomes,” said Milam. “Through our efforts, we restored the senior freeze program and allowed for more seniors to apply. I encourage all who are eligible and could use the help to apply to both programs.”

The average senior freeze check is approximately $1,200, and because of the Democratic budget, over 50,000 additional seniors will receive freeze checks than would have under the Christie proposal, which would have reduced the program by $25 million, would not have allowed new seniors to enter the program, and would have seen seniors reimbursed at the level of benefit received in FY 2010, regardless of the property tax increase incurred since 2008.

To be eligible for the Senior Freeze Program a person must be over the age of 65, have lived in New Jersey for at least 10 years and earned less than $70,000 for both calendar years 2009 and 2010. Eligible homeowners may apply online at until Oct. 31, or by phone (1-877-658-2972) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Applicants can call the Property Tax Reimbursement Hotline at 1-800-882-6597 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays to request an application, speak to a Taxation representative for assistance and get information on the status of their reimbursement checks if they have already filed.

To be eligible for the Homestead Benefit Program a person must have owned and occupied their home since at least October 1, 2010. In addition, during calendar year 2010, applicants under the age of 65 cannot have made more than $75,000 and applicants over the age of 65 cannot have made more than $150,000. For an application or assistance, residents can call the Homestead Benefit Hotline (1-888-238-1233) between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.