Tag Archives: senior citizens

Clavin, Phillips, Ra, Rally with Seniors for Property Tax Equality

Proposal Gives Nassau Seniors Same Property Tax Break as NYC Neighbors

 

Standing with a group of Floral Park senior citizens, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, Senator Elaine Phillips, and Assemblyman Ed Ra announced that they are calling for state legislation which would provide property tax parity for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in Nassau County. The officials spoke out in force, demanding that Nassau homeowners be granted the same income eligibility levels for senior citizen property tax exemptions as the Governor has recently signed into law for homeowners in New York City. Joining Clavin, Phillips and Ra at a Floral Park senior couple’s residence for the announcement were Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello, Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi and a group of determined senior citizens. Clavin has been rallying seniors and elected officials to sponsor legislative parity for Nassau County seniors since he learned about the increased property tax benefit for the city’s mature homeowners.

 

“Owning a home on Long Island is expensive, especially for senior citizens and people with disabilities, many of whom are living on a fixed income,” stated Clavin. “It’s only right that our Nassau homeowners get the same level of property tax relief as our neighbors in New York City are enjoying. Accordingly, I want to thank Senator Elaine Phillips and Assemblyman Ed Ra for sponsoring legislation that would ‘level the playing field’ for our mature residents by increasing the income eligibility levels for the Senior Citizens Property Tax Exemption in Nassau County. I also am calling for an increase in income eligibility limits for persons with disabilities. What’s more, I want to thank Nassau Legislator Richard Nicolello and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney for sponsoring ‘home rule messages’ in support of the plan.”

 

The officials explained that Long Island seniors, as well as all mature homeowners across the state, were subject to the same income eligibility limits as New York City neighbors until recently. Indeed, legislation introduced during the 2017-2018 session (S-4628A), which passed both houses of the legislature and has been signed into law by the Governor, increases income eligibility levels for both the Senior Citizen and Disability Property Tax Exemptions in New York City. Clavin approached the other officials and requested state legislative relief after learning about the increase in income eligibility limits for New York City’s Senior Citizens Property Tax Exemption program.

 

“Equity is a key imperative in our state’s legislative system,” stated Phillips. “And, a commitment to fairness demands legislation that would help Nassau’s seniors and people with disabilities by boosting income eligibility levels for the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption. I am proud to announce that I will sponsor legislation to remedy this inequity.”

 

“Working with Senator Phillips, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin and Legislator Nicolello, we will bring property tax fairness to Nassau County,” said Ra. “I am dedicated to working with my colleagues in government to raise senior citizen and disability income eligibility levels when it comes to the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption.”

 

“Senior citizens, many of whom are living on a fixed income, are struggling to ‘make ends meet’ on Long Island,” said King Sweeney. “When Don Clavin brought this issue to my attention and asked me to sponsor Hempstead Town’s participation in an enhanced Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption program, I eagerly accepted the task.”

 

In fact, the newly approved law boosts income eligibility levels for New York City seniors and persons with disabilities who seek an exemption by as much as 72.4 percent. For example, the pre-existing income ceiling of $29,000 for a full 50 percent exemption (the highest exemption level) is raised to $50,000 under the law. And, the maximum income level that a New York City senior may achieve and still be eligible for an exemption has been increased to $58,399 from $37,399.

 

“I want to thank Don Clavin for identifying a tremendous disparity in the treatment of Nassau’s senior citizens, compared to city homeowners, when it comes to property tax exemption income eligibility limits,” said Nicolello. “I am proud to sponsor a ‘home rule’ message in the Nassau Legislature which will support Senator Phillips and Assemblyman Ra as they fight to secure increased Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption income eligibility limits for Nassau’s homeowners like those currently enjoyed by their New York City neighbors.”

 

Prior to the newly minted legislation that boosted income limits for NYC’s seniors, the City’s income eligibility limits were identical to those that are applicable to Long Island property owners. The law (Chapter 131 of the RPTL), which was signed into effect by the Governor on July 25, 2017, provides for the City of New York to “opt in.” Before the passage of the new law, the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption income eligibility limits for New York City included a maximum adjusted gross income of $37,399, which provided a 5 percent exemption. Those with an adjusted gross income of $29,000 or less qualified for a 50 percent exemption. And, the law provided for eight incremental income levels between the base and the maximum eligibility amounts, each carrying a graduated exemption percentage based on income. The following table details the previous income/exemption amounts for New York City homeowners (these amounts remain in force for Long Island and the rest of New York State):

 

 

Income Exemption
$29,000 or LESS 50 percent
$29,001 to $29,999 45 percent
$30,000 to $30,999 40 percent
$31,000 to $31,999 35 percent
$32,000 to $32,899 30 percent
$32,900 to $33,799 25 percent
$33,800 to $34,699 20 percent
$34,700 to $35,599 15 percent
$35,600 to $36,499 10 percent
$36,500 to $37,399   5 percent

 

 

New York City’s income/exemption amounts under the newly adopted state legislation have risen to the following levels:

 

Income Exemption
$50,000 or LESS 50 percent
$50,001 to $50,999 45 percent
$51,000 to $51,999 40 percent
$52,000 to $52,999 35 percent
$53,000 to $53,899 30 percent
$53,900 to $54,799 25 percent
$54,800 to $55,699 20 percent
$55,700 to $56,599 15 percent
$56,600 to $57,499 10 percent
$57,500 to $58,399   5 percent

 

 

The officials called the current income limits unrealistic and said they have not kept pace with the cost of living on Long Island. In fact, federal HUD guidelines term a household income of $56,700 as “low income” on Long Island. Clavin, Phillips, Ra and Nicolello observed that the last time the income eligibility limits were raised was in 2009. Prior to that, income limits were raised in three successive years (2007, 2008, 2009). Further, the representatives noted that any new legislation could include “opt in” provisions for local governments and empower municipalities with the authority to adjust income levels or exemption levels within maximum cap amounts in order to address the budgetary constraints of individual local governments.

 

“I think we can all agree that it’s time to raise income eligibility levels for this property tax exemption program,” said Phillips. “Our Nassau neighbors have watched costs increase since 2009, and they deserve an increase in income eligibility levels that reflects the increases in our cost of living.”

 

“Many senior citizens and persons with disabilities are struggling to make ends meet, and this legislation would be a huge help for mature residents,” said Ra. “I want to thank Don Clavin and Senator Phillips for their efforts on behalf of senior citizens.”

 

“As the son of a veteran, I am enthusiastic that more people like my mom and dad will be able to take advantage of the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption,” said Mayor Longobardi. “I want to thank Receiver Clavin, Senator Phillips, Assemblyman Ed Ra and the other officials for working to help Nassau County seniors make ends meet.”

 

“Our senior citizens and persons with disabilities should be treated just like New York City’s ‘golden-aged’ homeowners when it comes to property tax fairness,” concluded Clavin. “I want to join those who would be affected by this legislation in thanking Senator Phillips and Assemblyman Ra for taking the fight to Albany as they present legislation that will secure property tax parity between Nassau’s senior homeowners and our neighbors in New York City.”

 

Visit Receiver Clavin’s webpage

Hempstead Town’s VITA Program Releases Schedule

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino has announced the 2017 schedule for the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program. The town’s corps of VITA volunteers is ready to provide senior citizens and residents with limited income with free income tax return filing services. Sponsored by the Town of Hempstead’s Department of Senior Enrichment under the auspices of the Internal Revenue Service, VITA tax preparers are trained in the latest changes in the tax laws and assigned to local libraries and senior centers throughout the ten-week filing period.

 

“For more than 40 years, Hempstead’s VITA volunteers have provided an invaluable service to our residents, helping them to obtain the maximum allowable refund,” stated Santino. “Our dedicated VITA volunteers will be assigned to one of the town’s 18 sites, beginning February 6th through April 17th.”

 

Participants must bring last year’s tax return (2015), all wage, Social Security and earning statements (W-2 and 1099, and 1095, if applicable), all interest, dividend, capital gains, IRAs, annuities and pension statements, 2016 property tax receipts, STAR exemption records, itemized expense records, social security cards and photo identification of all those filing tax returns.

 

Most VITA sites require that an appointment is made in advance. Many of the VITA locations are equipped to electronically file tax returns. Please note that VITA tax assistants are volunteers and are not required to prepare complicated returns.

 

“The Town of Hempstead continues to meet the needs of its citizens through innovative programs like VITA,” said Santino. “I encourage any senior citizen or resident with limited income who is interested in having his or her tax return prepared to take advantage of this excellent, free service.”

 

To view the VITA program schedule, please visit the town’s website or bit.ly/tohliVITA or call the Department of Senior Enrichment at (516) 485-8100 for further assistance.

 

Visit the Town of Hempstead website

Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves Issues Safety Tips for Seniors

Senior citizens are often seen by criminals as easy targets. Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves and the Nassau County Police Department want to offer you some safety tips to help minimize opportunities for criminals to try and take advantage of you.

 

HOME SAFETY –

• Always lock doors and windows.

• Don’t rely on a chain lock to keep people out of your home.

• Consider installing a security viewer on your home.

• Have dead bolt locks placed on all exterior doors.

• Never hide keys outside. Burglars know most hiding spots.

• Always ask who’s there before opening door, even if you are expecting someone.

• If the person at the door is wearing authoritative clothes or a uniform, ask that credentials and ID be held up to view before you open the door.

• Most companies/utilities will call before sending personnel to your home and will make

specific appointment times.

 

TELEPHONE SAFETY –

• Do not volunteer any information to unknown people over the telephone; name, home address,

social security or PIN numbers.

• Hang up quickly on suspicious or obscene callers.

• Be aware of phone scams, such as people calling as the IRS and saying you owe them money or telling you a relative is in trouble and needs money quickly.

 

MAIL SAFETY –

• Thieves target senior citizens’ mailboxes to steal Social Security or retirement checks and

know the date of their arrival.

• To prevent this, place a lock on your mailbox or have checks directly deposited to your bank,

credit union, etc.

 

STREET SAFETY –

• Avoid traveling alone, there is safety in numbers.

• Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

• Do not wear or display expensive jewelry.

• Put your money in a secure place and don’t carry large amounts of cash.

• If you must walk at night, choose busy, well-lit streets.

• Always let someone know where you are going and when you are expecting to return.

• If you take a taxi or car service, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside before leaving.

• Always have your door key ready when walking up to your door to avoid becoming distracted while fumbling for key.

 

SHOPPING SAFETY –

• Carry only a small amount of cash and a minimum of credit cards.

• Never leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart or on a counter.

• Place a thick rubber band around wallets and place them in front pocket to avoid being pick-pocketed. 

• If someone distracts you as your are making a purchase be sure to close your purse or wallet and hold onto it.

 

BEWARE OF CON ARTISTS –

• Con artists can work alone or in groups, they are women and men, young and old and may pretend to be repairmen, inspectors, police, lost, distraught or desperate people.

• Con artists are smooth talkers with a well-rehearsed story.

• Don’t believe the baloney! Beware of strangers with a story.

 

Visit Legislator Gonsalves’ webpage

Senator Martins Helps Local Seniors Protect Themselves from Scams

Albertson senior citizensSenator Jack M. Martins (R-7th Senate District) recently held a community program in Albertson to help local senior citizens protect themselves from scams and fraud.

 

Staff from the New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection discussed some of the recent scams targeting senior citizens and taught them steps to prevent identity theft, protect their personal information, and avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Participants also had the opportunity to ask questions.

 

Seniors who were unable to attend the program but would like information about how they can protect themselves from identity theft and scams can call Senator Martins’ office at 516-746-5924 or email him through his website, martins.nysenate.gov.

 

Senator Martins is pictured speaking to seniors at the recent scam prevention program he sponsored with the Division of Consumer Protection at the Shelter Rock Public Library.

 

Visit Senator Martins’ webpage

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) for Seniors Still On-Going

There are still some dates and locations available for Hempstead Town’s VITA Program which helps senior citizens prepare their federal and state income tax returns and secure every penny of the refunds to which they are entitled. It’s time to take advantage of the FREE service presented with our Department of Senior Enrichment’s volunteer tax assistants. Seniors and residents with limited incomes who wish to participate in the program must bring last year’s tax return (2013), all wage, Social Security and earnings statements (W-2 and 1099, and 1095, if applicable), all interest, dividend, capital gains, IRAs, annuities and pension statements, 2014 property tax receipts, STAR exemption records, social security cards and photo identifications of all those filing tax returns.

 

Listed HERE are the 2015 Town of Hempstead VITA locations.

 

Visit the Town of Hempstead website

Town of Oyster Bay Seniors Invited to Register for iPad Workshop

Town of Oyster Bay seniors who looking to learn more about their iPad or computer are invited to take part in computer classes to be held at the William P. Bennett Hicksville Community Center, located at 28 West Carl Street in Hicksville, announced Town Councilwoman Michele Johnson. The classes are held by the Education and Assistance Corp (EAC) Inc. to seniors 60 years of age and older through its SeniorNet program and begin on Tuesday, May 27.

 

“The Town is pleased to extend our partnership with EAC to offer these classes for seniors, in an effort to provide the best computer education to our older residents,” Councilwoman Johnson said. “The classes are wide ranging, and no prior experience with computers is necessary.”

 

Councilwoman Johnson noted that classes educate older residents on Computer Basics, getting the most out of your iPad, and how to use the internet on an iPad or Tablet. The classes are taught by volunteer instructors and coaches, who strive to make learning fun to help seniors adjust to the ever changing world of technology. There is a modest fee for materials.

 

“Enrolling in these SeniorNet classes will enable you to learn how to send emails to your grandchildren and even chat with old friends in other states.” Councilwoman Johnson said. “Keeping in touch with your family through technology will open up new experiences for each and every one of you.”

 

For more information regarding the SeniorNet Computer Classes program, including registration information, call 516-539-0150, ext. 130.

 

Visit the Town of Oyster Bay website

 

Home Improvement Assistance Available for Senior Citizen and Physically Challenged Residents

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto reminds low- and moderate-income senior citizens and physically challenged homeowners that funding is available for much needed home repairs.

 

“The funding allows eligible homeowners to make their homes much more accessible and functional,” Supervisor Venditto said. “This wonderful program greatly improves the quality of life for seniors and the physically challenged by allowing them a greater sense of independence in their daily lives.”

 

The Town Community Development Block Grant Program, which is administered by the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, provides this vital funding to eligible residents of unincorporated communities throughout the Town, Supervisor Venditto indicated.

 

“Among the many possibilities, physically challenged homeowners can have ramps built, stair glides installed, and doors widened to help enhance their freedom and mobility at home,” Supervisor Venditto said. “Meanwhile, senior citizens can benefit from a wide variety of essential home repairs, including new roofs, oil or gas burners, new windows and updated plumbing and electrical systems.”

 

According to Supervisor Venditto, eligible homeowners must be 60 years of age or older, or physically challenged, own and occupy their own home. All applicants must meet federal income guidelines. For an application and/or further assistance, homeowners can call the Town Community Development Office at 624-6177/6170.

 

Visit the Town of Oyster Bay website