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Property Tax Relief for Seniors and Disabled

May 3, 2017 
By Neal Tepel

New York, NY -  New York State legislation, sponsored by State Senator Diane Savino (S4628) and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh (A7463) would expand property tax exemptions for senior citizens and disabled New Yorkers.

Current State law enables senior citizens and disabled individuals making up to $37,400 annually to qualify for property tax relief under the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE) or the Disability Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE) programs. Changes proposed in New York State legislation would raise the maximum income threshold to $58,400, which would constitute the first change to the cap since 2009. Currently, over 57,000 New York City homeowners are enrolled in these programs. This adjustment would benefit more than 32,000 households.

“Since the creation of these programs, life has changed significantly in New York City. We’ve watched the cost of living increase, but the income requirements for SCHE and DHE have remained stagnant,” said Mayor de Blasio. “New York City’s seniors should not be worrying about how they’ll afford to stay in their homes. At a time when we’re facing tax cuts for billionaires by billionaires, it is our duty to do all we can for those most deserving of some assistance. I want to thank the sponsors of this legislation, Senator Diane Savino and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, for their strong advocacy on behalf of seniors and disabled New Yorkers and look forward to working with them to pass this bill this session.”

Currently, SCHE and DHE provide a property tax exemption of 50 percent of the assessed property value for senior and disabled homeowners making up to $29,000 per year, with homeowners making up to $37,400 receiving a smaller exemption on a sliding scale. Under the new legislation, senior and disabled homeowners making up to $50,000 would be eligible for the 50 percent exemption, with homeowners making up to $58,400 receiving a smaller exemption on a sliding scale. The city estimates that raising the income threshold would provide eligible senior and disabled homeowners with an average benefit of $1,750.

Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna Corrado said, “A simple change in the income threshold for SCHE and DHE would make a world of difference to older homeowners struggling to make ends meet in New York City. We saw the benefits when the maximum income for SCRIE and DRIE, the City’s programs that provide relief to renters, were increased. Raising the income threshold for homeowners is not only fair, it makes it possible for thousands more older New Yorkers to continue to live in their own homes and communities without having to worry about their property taxes going up.”

"Our seniors and disabled New Yorkers, who live on fixed incomes, deserve to reside in their communities without the fear of losing their homes. Many of our senior citizens choose to age in place in the neighborhoods where they’ve raised their families, worked and enjoyed throughout their lives. I’m so proud to carry legislation that will bring much-needed property tax relief for our seniors and disabled homeowners through the SCHE and DHE programs. I thank Mayor de Blasio for helping keep their homes affordable,” said State Senator Diane Savino.

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