Highlighting the direct relief provided to New Jersey seniors in his Fiscal Year 2012 Budget, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today met with senior Sultana Kizides at her home in Perth Amboy to have a conversation about how his budget maintains fiscal discipline while prioritizing and funding core priorities to assist New Jersey seniors. Governor Christie’s budget doubles Homestead Benefits in Fiscal Year 2012 for New Jerseyans, providing property tax relief as a direct credit against homeowners’ property tax bills, and increases funding by $90 million for the Senior Freeze property tax relief program.
Senior Freeze checks are in the mail and on their way, and Homestead Benefits will be applied directly against homeowners’ property tax bills this year.
“Because of the priorities we funded in this budget, seniors and families will get the extra help they need to ease the strain on fixed incomes and family budgets,” said Governor Christie. “While we continue working to deliver lasting, long-term property tax relief, I am following through on my commitment to meet the needs of New Jersey seniors and families for immediate property tax relief in this year’s budget.
“The property tax crisis in New Jersey has squeezed our seniors and middle-class families, and we have attacked the underlying root of the problem with a 2 percent cap on property tax increases and fundamental reforms to drive down the cost of government. We’ve made real progress, but I will not stop until an affordable, secure future is a certainty for our families and future generations.”
The Christie Administration, through the Treasury Department’s Division of Taxation, has already begun mailing Senior Freeze checks to senior and disabled homeowners. Checks for the Senior Freeze program, which protects senior citizens and disabled residents from increases in property taxes, will average more than $1,200 this year, going directly to recipients who earned $70,000 or less in 2009 and 2010.
In difficult economic circumstances, Governor Christie signed into law a Fiscal Year 2012 Budget that maintains fiscal responsibility, while protecting critical priorities that serve New Jersey’s seniors and most vulnerable residents. As a result, senior and disabled homeowners with gross income up to $150,000 will receive Homestead Benefit credits averaging $540 this year, and non-senior homeowners with gross incomes up to $75,000 will receive credits averaging $404.
The Administration mailed out 116,000 Senior Freeze checks to applicants who filed by June 1 earlier this month. Those who filed after June 1 will receive checks throughout the coming months as the State processes applications. New applications are also being accepted because Governor Chris Christie extended the deadline for filing to October 31. In addition, the Governor and Legislature have provided funding for more applicants this year.
Every individual who qualifies for the Senior Freeze program will receive a benefit this year.
The Treasury Department is directly following up with applicants who filed incomplete applications in order to ensure every eligible New Jersey senior receives the benefit to which they are entitled. The Division of Taxation is mailing notices to 13,000 applicants who filed incomplete applications.
Anyone with questions can call the Property Tax Reimbursement Hotline at 1-800-882-6597. Those who filed their applications by June 1 should wait until July 25 before contacting the Division of Taxation to inquire about the status of their reimbursement checks.
Information about the program is also available on the Division of Taxation’s Web site at www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/.