Relates to providing language access services to individuals relating to the tax abatement program for rent-controlled and rent-regulated property occupied by senior citizens or persons with disabilities.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the real property tax law, in relation to providing language access services to individuals relating to the tax abatement program for rent-controlled and rent-regulated property occupied by senior citizens or persons with disabilities
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would require municipalities that have the senior citizen rent increase exemption (SCRIE) and disabled rent increase exemption (DRIE) program to ensure that individuals who have difficulty speaking or understanding English would have the same opportunity to participate in the SCRIE/DRIE program as other individuals.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1. This bill would require municipalities that offer the SCRIE/DRIE program to develop and implement a plan to make sure that individuals who have trouble speaking or understanding English have adequate access to the program. This plan would include:
1) Translation of necessary documents into the six most common non-English languages spoken in the municipality;
2) Provision of interpretive services upon request; and
3) Provision of assistive services upon request or demonstrated need to individuals who require such assistance due to partial or total deafness, blindness, speech impediment, or cognitive impairment.
Section 2. Effective Date
JUSTIFICATION: New York City contains a vibrant array of cultures and ethnicities across the boroughs. All of these communities have senior citizens on fixed incomes that would benefit from participation in the SCRIE program. Many of these individuals speak languages other than English. It is unacceptable for seniors in need to be denied access to such an important program because they cannot understand the forms or cannot readily speak with agency staff.
While some strides have been made to correct this disparity, with all of the services and technology available, the municipalities can do more. Any senior who is eligible, regardless of their language or assistance needs, should have the opportunity to participate in the SCRIE program.
It is vital that municipalities make this kind of inclusiveness a priority.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: S7203: Referred to Aging and committed to Finance A9213: Passed Assembly
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4789 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 24, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Aging AN ACT to amend the real property tax law, in relation to providing language access services to individuals relating to the tax abatement program for rent-controlled and rent-regulated property occupied by senior citizens or persons with disabilities THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 3 of section 467-b of the real property tax law is amended by adding a new paragraph i to read as follows: I. THE ENTITY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM SHALL DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A PLAN TO ENSURE ADEQUATE ACCESS TO INFORMATION BY INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE DIFFICULTIES SPEAKING OR UNDERSTAND- ING ENGLISH. SUCH ENTITY SHALL: (1) TRANSLATE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, FORMS AND INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED TO OR COMPLETED BY THE PROGRAM BENEFICIARIES OR PARTICIPANTS, INTO THE SIX MOST COMMON NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGES SPOKEN BY INDIVIDUALS WITH LIMITED-ENGLISH PROFICIENCY IN THE MUNICIPALITY THAT OFFERS THIS PROGRAM PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION; (2) OFFER, UPON REQUEST, INTERPRETATION SERVICES BETWEEN THE ENTITY ADMINISTERING THE PROGRAM AND AN INDIVIDUAL IN HIS OR HER PRIMARY LANGUAGE WITH RESPECT TO THE PROVISION OF SERVICES OR BENEFITS; AND (3) OFFER, UPON REQUEST OR DEMONSTRATED NEED, SERVICES TO AN INDIVID- UAL WHO REQUIRES ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE DUE TO PARTIAL OR TOTAL DEAFNESS, BLINDNESS, SPEECH IMPEDIMENT, OR COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that the amendments to subdivision 3 of section 467-b of the real property tax law made by section one of this act shall not affect the expiration and reversion of such section and shall be deemed to expire therewith.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD07971-01-3