Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and the Town Board today celebrated a victory for the hundreds of thousands of senior citizens and residents living with disabilities who call America’s largest township home. Finally, after repeatedly calling on New York State lawmakers to update the Senior Citizen Tax Exemption and the Persons with Disabilities and Limited Income Tax Exemption, the Town of Hempstead can now opt-in to legislation that would grant Nassau County’s senior citizens and persons with disabilities the same income eligibility levels as New York City. The officials made this announcement in front of the Franklin Square home of a local senior resident with Assemblyman Ed Ra, who championed this bill for many years alongside Supervisor Don Clavin.
“Updating the income eligibility levels of these important tax exemptions is crucial to helping senior residents and residents living with disabilities remain in their homes on Long Island,” said Clavin. “The Town of Hempstead is proud to opt into this updated legislation as soon as possible, and I’m proud to have championed this proposal along with Assemblyman Ed Ra.”
Under the new legislation, qualifying senior citizens and persons living with disabilities will be eligible to receive up to a 50% reduction on their assessment if their annual household income is $58,399 or less. This reduction is reflected in county, town, and school taxes. A reduction of 50% is the maximum allowed exemption and requires an annual household income of $50,000 or less to qualify. The exemption works on a sliding scale depending on annual household income. The following table details the new income thresholds for the Senior Citizens Property Tax Exemption and the Persons with Disabilities and Limited Income Property Tax Exemption:
$50,000 or LESS
$50,001 to $50,999
$51,000 to $51,999
$52,000 to $52,999
$53,000 to $53,899
$53,900 to $54,799
$54,800 to $55,699
$55,700 to $56,599
$56,600 to $57,499
$57,500 to $58,399
“With the rapid inflation increase and consumer goods across the board on the rise, it is more important than ever that our seniors who are living on a fixed income have the peace of mind to better financially plan in the months and years ahead,” said Assemblyman Ra. “Reducing the cost of living in the state should be our number one focus in Albany as record inflation and prices at the pump and grocery store continue to burden New Yorkers. I was pleased this bill received bi-partisan support and I will continue to work every day to make New York state more affordable for all residents.”
“With the high rates of inflation and rising costs of everything, we need to do all we can to help our senior community, as well as those living with disabilities.,” said Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby.
Supervisor Clavin has been a longtime supporter of tax parity for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. In 2019, Supervisor Clavin joined with Assemblyman Ed Ra to call for Nassau County’s income/exemption rates for these two exemptions to be the same as New York City’s rates. With Supervisor Clavin’s assistance, Assemblyman Ra proposed a bill that would offer the same income eligibility rates to Nassau County residents. Earlier this month, the legislation was passed statewide, allowing local municipalities to opt into the new income eligibility rates. The Hempstead Town Board eagerly plans to opt into the legislation at the next Town Board meeting, on September 7th.
“New York City is a stone’s throw away from Hempstead Town,” said Councilman Anthony D’Esposito. “The cost of living is nearly identical, so these equivalent income levels have been long overdue. The Town Board will opt into this legislation as soon as possible to help our senior homeowners and those living with disabilities.”
The new income eligibility amounts better reflect the cost of living on Long Island and, as the officials noted, is more important now than ever due to the rapid inflation. The last time the income eligibility rates had been raised was in 2009, after being increased in three successive years (2007, 2008, 2009). Supervisor Clavin noted that although it took years after his initial calls for tax parity, the new income eligibility levels are a welcome boon to local fixed-income seniors and residents living with disabilities.
“Seniors and persons with disabilities are especially vulnerable to the effects of rising costs and inflation, and this new legislation will go a long way to helping residents,” said Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr. Added Councilman Tom Muscarella, “The Town of Hempstead is committed to helping residents, particularly those on a fixed income, by providing tax relief in any way we can.”
“As someone who lives on Long Island and worked in New York City for many years, I know that increasing Hempstead Town’s income threshold to be in line with our city neighbors will go a long way to assisting residents during these challenging economic times,” said Councilman Chris Carini. Added Councilwoman Melissa Miller, “This new legislation is a great victory for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. Kudos to Supervisor Clavin for his leadership on this issue.”