WAGNER & VOSS: DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR TAX RELIEF PROGRAMS EXTENDED TO NOV. 7

(38th DISTRICT) – Assembly members Connie Wagner and Joan M. Voss (both D-Bergen) today encouraged senior citizens and homeowners to take advantage of the extended deadline to apply for the Homestead Benefit Program and the Senior Freeze Program property tax relief programs.

The deadline has been extended to November 7, 2011. The Senior Freeze program was fully restored under the Democratic budget that Wagner and Voss voted to approve earlier this summer.

“This is wonderful news for seniors living on fixed incomes and homeowners struggling with hefty property taxes,” said Wagner. “We were able to restore funding for the Senior Freeze Program, allowing thousands of additional seniors to apply. With the holidays right around the corner, any financial assistance surely is welcomed, so I hope all who are eligible will apply.”

“These programs are a great asset for seniors and homeowners who find themselves stretching every dollar especially in this current economic climate,” said Voss. “Many more of our seniors will be able to apply for the Senior Freeze program after we were able to restore its funding. I hope all who are eligible will take advantage of this extended deadline and apply.”

The average Senior Freeze check is approximately $1,200, and because of the Democratic budget, more than 50,000 additional seniors will receive Senior 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. Applicants can call 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. Eligible homeowners may file online at www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/, or by phone (1-877-658-2972) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For an application or assistance, residents can call the Homestead Benefit Hotline at 1-888-238-1233 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.