Governor Christie’s proposal to freeze the Senior Property Tax Reimbursement Program puts many older residents at risk of losing their homes. It is an especially serious threat to one of our most vulnerable populations – elderly women. Although housing costs average 45% of monthly expenses for older citizens generally, and 25% of New Jersey seniors rely on Social Security alone, elderly women typically suffer a 23% lower income, and receive only $12,741 to the average man’s $16,581 in Social Security.
Older women cannot afford to lose any property tax relief, particularly in this economy. The Governor’s proposal to cap tax rebates and freeze enrollment puts elderly women at risk of literally being taxed out of their homes. The possibility of these senior residents losing their homes after a life time of work and contribution to their communities is sobering in itself, but there are grave social costs to consider as well. Women who have lost their homes are likely to end up in nursing homes, requiring several times as much in tax-payer funds for their support. This is poor budget policy by any accounting. Voters should urge their representatives to restore the Senior Property Tax Reimbursement Program.
AARP Outreach Volunteer
Lawrence Township, NJ