If you’re elderly, disabled, or a disabled veteran, you may have heard that it’s possible to receive property tax relief, thanks to a State of Tennessee program designed to minimize the tax burden on low-income Tennessee homeowners. What you’ve heard is true; if you apply and qualify, the state will reimburse you for all or part of the local taxes paid on property that you own and use as your residence.
Property Tax Relief Eligibility Requirements for Elderly and Disabled Homeowners
Eligibility requirements are threefold and take into account:
To qualify as a senior, you must turn 65 on or before December 31 during the tax year for which you are applying. In other words, if you’re applying for reimbursement of your 2017 taxes, you must turn 65 prior to the end of 2017. Proof of age can be demonstrated using a birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, or Medicare card, among other options.
To qualify as a disabled homeowner, you must have become disabled on or before December 31 of the year in question. You can, however, apply while you are awaiting a decision on an eligibility claim. (If you’re a disabled veteran, you must have a 100% disability rating. According to Nashville.gov, “[t]he disability must meet specific criteria under service connection, be combat-related or the result of being a prisoner of war.” There is no income limit, however, and tax relief is applied to the first $100,000 of market value of your home.)
You must also be able to prove that you owned the taxable property during the tax year in question—and that you utilize the home as your principal residence. A tax bill, tax receipt, or recorded deed may be used to document ownership. Or contact us at Raybin & Weissman to find out which other documents may be used to prove ownership.
Last but not least, your combined annual income (including that of your spouse) cannot exceed $29,180.* Income sources include, but are not limited to:
- Social Security (after Medicare deduction)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Retirement and pension benefits
- Veterans’ benefits
- Workers’ compensation
- Unemployment compensation
- Salary and wages
- Interest and dividends
Property Tax Freeze
Under the same program, you can also “freeze” the tax due on your property (principal residence). In other words, even if property tax rates increase, in future years you will continue to pay the amount for the year in which you qualified. Proof of income must be provided, and income of all owners of the property cannot exceed $41,660.**
To apply, contact your property tax collector or your county trustee.
Federal Disability Programs
If you’re 65 or older or have a disability and meet certain low-income requirements you may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits under one of two federal government programs—the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program or Social Security Disability Insurance program. The latter program pays benefits to you if you cannot work because of a serious medical condition that prevents you from working for at least a year.
In my post Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability?, I highlighted the criteria for qualifying for Social Security Disability. If you believe you are eligible you can gather the materials needed to prove you are eligible, which include personal information, work history, and medical records. Be aware, though, that it can take months or years to receive benefits, and many claims are initially denied.
Get Help with a Disability Application or Appeal from a Social Security Disability Attorney
To greatly increase your chance or successfully navigating the Social Security Disability application process, considering hiring an attorney who specializes in SSD cases. Or if your claim has been denied and you’d like to pursue an appeal, contact the Nashville Social Security Disability lawyers at Raybin & Weissman for your free consultation.
*2015 calendar year
** Davidson County residents