Can I recover Senior Freeze benefits?
Q. I am trying to help an elderly friend with the Senior Freeze. She is a first-time reporter, so a base year has not yet been established. Based on all eligibility requirements met, does a person need to complete an application for each year up to the time they first became eligible? My elderly friend turned 65 in 1998 and has lived in the same house since 1979. I saw on the state website that the forms go back to 1998. So if she was eligible for the first time this year- there, should she complete the application for each year to establish her base year now? And what if it exceeds the income level in one of those years? Finally, would she be eligible for a refund for past years when she did not file a file?
A. It’s nice of you to try to help your friend with the Senior Freeze.
This benefit is available to New Jersey residents age 65 or older or receiving federal Social Security disability benefits as of December 31, 2019.
“The 2021-related applications will be available in March, but as you’ve discovered, there are forms dating back to 1998 when the program began,” said Claudia Mott, certified financial planner at Epona Financial Solutions in Basking Ridge.
Mott said there are a number of factors that must be met to qualify for the Senior Freeze, and those will apply to your friend when trying to establish her base year.
Age and income are two of them, as well as length of life in one’s residence or mobile home, she said.
“Generally, there’s a three-year residency requirement,” Mott said. “Generally, to be eligible, you must have lived in your home before December 31, 2016 and stayed there until December 21, 2020.”
Additionally, you must have been a continuous resident of New Jersey for at least the past 10 years, either as a landlord or tenant.
Property tax payments or mobile home site fees must be up to date and you must meet income requirements. The total annual income limit for 2019 is $91,505 and for 2020 it is $92,969. This limit applies regardless of your marital or civil union status as long as you both lived in the same household on December 31, she said.
In order to establish a base year, she would have to file all PTR-1 applications dating back to the point where she meets all of the eligibility requirements, Mott said.
“This will involve comparing her total income to the applicable limit to ensure she qualifies for that particular year and meets all other specifications,” she said. “If her income disqualifies her in a year, retroactive claims should begin the following year in which she meets the income limit setting and for each successive year she continues to meet the guidelines.”
The base year will be established based on the initial claim and will be used to calculate his benefits going forward, Mott said.
“The Senior Freeze benefit is not paid retroactively and each new year must be deposited before the deadline to be eligible for a benefit,” she said. “The state does not process late applications.”
For help, you can try the NJ Senior Freeze Hotline at (800) 882-6597.
Another alternative might be to contact the office of aging or senior services in the county your friend lives in to ask if they have anyone who could offer help with the forms, she said. declared.
Send your questions to [email protected].
Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboos column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. Find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Register for NJMoneyHelp.comit is weekly e-newsletter.