In order to protect low-income senior citizens from increases in their property value and the tax rate, the city provides an application to freeze property tax at its current level. But not all citizens who are on a fixed low-income qualify for the property tax freeze program.
“People on disability just don’t meet certain criteria,” said Thurman Scott, a resident of Graduate Hospital for more than 30 years. “Actually, we just don’t meet the age of .”
Scott, 57, receives disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, but he’s not eligible for the property tax freeze because he and his wife are both under 65. His proposed property value for 2014 is $219,300, which is more than a 700 percent increase from its 2013 value of $30,300. Even with the proposed $30,000 Homestead Exemption, his property taxes will increase by 160 percent from $947 to $2,461 at the proposed 1.3 percent tax rate. Since he is on a fixed low-income, Scott is concerned.
“Next years taxes I could put on my credit card. After that, though, I don’t know.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue offers a property tax/rent rebate program that provides relief to both senior and disabled citizens. The maximum standard rebate is $650, which would still leave Scott with $1,811 in proposed 2014 property taxes.
Frank Breslin, the deputy revenue commissioner for Philadelphia’s Department of Revenue said, “I’m not sure why disabled citizens were excluded.”