Relates to outreach, status and time limits 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 outreach, status and time limits 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 conduct outreach in the community to ensure individuals who may be eligible are aware that they can apply. This bill would also require implementation of a mechanism for applicants and participants to determine the status of their exemptions and would set time limits within which the municipal agency operating the program must respond to applicants and participants when forms are submitted.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1. This section has three main parts that would:
* Require a municipality operating the SCRIE/DRIE program to implement a program of outreach initiatives in the community to encourage individuals who may be eligible to apply for the program;
* Require the development of a mechanism applicants and participants could use to determine the status of their exemptions and any forms they have filed; and
* Set specific time limits within which the municipal agency operating the SCRIE/DRIE program would be required to act. The agency would he required to send an acknowledgement of the receipt of a form within three days of receiving the form. The agency then would have thirty days to act on the form by either approving or rejecting the form or requesting further information, If a request for further information were issued, the agency would have fifteen days to act on the form once the additional information was received.
Section 2. Effective Date
JUSTIFICATION: SCRIE is an extremely important benefit for seniors and persons with disabilities living on fixed incomes when costs are rising from everything from housing to medications to food. Unfortunately, many seniors and persons with disabilities who could be receiving a break on their rent through this program do not even know it exists. It is very important that we get the word out so that those who need the benefit can apply.
Also, time and again we hear that applicants don't know the status of their applications as they wait for months or send in multiple applications in the hopes of hearing back. Participants also have problems with their renewals being delayed and their rent in danger
of skyrocketing. A simple system to check the status of an abatement or form filed is important to make sure things are not lost and to avoid confusion.
One of the most egregious situations faced by applicants and participants is waiting months to hear anything back regarding their paperwork. Many individuals face rent increases because applications are not processed in a timely fashion. Time restrictions are necessary to make sure applicants and participants aren't waiting six months or more just to find out the status of their paperwork.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6592 IN SENATE March 1, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. GOLDEN -- 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 outreach, status and time limits 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. Section 467-b of the real property tax law is amended by adding three new subdivisions 10, 11 and 12 to read as follows: 10. AN ENTITY THAT ADMINISTERS THE TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL IMPLEMENT AND ADMINISTER A PROGRAM THAT DEVELOPS OUTREACH INITIATIVES TO IDENTIFY INDIVIDUALS WHO MEET THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR THE TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM WHO ARE NOT PARTICIPATING IN THE PROGRAM AND ENSURE THAT THEY HAVE INFORMATION REGARDING THE TAX ABATE- MENT PROGRAM. SUCH OUTREACH PROGRAM MAY INCLUDE, BUT SHALL NOT BE LIMITED TO, MAILINGS, ADVERTISEMENTS, PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS, LITERATURE DISSEMINATION, INTERNET TECHNOLOGY, SOCIAL MEDIA, COMMUNITY OUTREACH, AND PARTNERSHIPS WITH OTHER MUNICIPAL ENTITIES AND AGENCIES. AN ENTITY THAT ADMINISTERS THE TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM MAY CONSULT WITH ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY DEEMED PERTINENT TO DEVELOP THE OUTREACH INITIATIVE. 11. ANY MUNICIPALITY THAT ADOPTS A LOCAL LAW, RESOLUTION, OR ORDINANCE PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL DEVELOP A PROGRAM TO ALLOW APPLICANTS AND PARTICIPANTS TO ASCERTAIN THE STATUS OF ANY TAX ABATEMENT OR THE STATUS OF ANY FORM THAT HAS BEEN FILED BY SUCH APPLI- CANT OR PARTICIPANT ON THE APPLICANT OR PARTICIPANT'S BEHALF PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. SUCH PROGRAM SHALL INCLUDE PROVISIONS TO ENSURE THAT APPLICANTS AND PARTICIPANTS WHOSE PRIMARY LANGUAGE IS NOT ENGLISH, WHO MAY HAVE COMMUNICATION RESTRICTIONS DUE TO PARTIAL OR TOTAL BLINDNESS, DEAFNESS, SPEECH IMPEDIMENT, OR COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT, AND/OR WHO LACK ACCESS TO THE INTERNET MAY ASCERTAIN SUCH STATUS. 12. A. WITHIN THREE DAYS OF RECEIVING ANY FORM FOR APPLICATION, RENEWAL, OR ADJUSTMENT OF ABATEMENT FOR THE TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM, AEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14358-01-2 S. 6592 2
LETTER ACKNOWLEDGING RECEIPT OF SUCH FORM SHALL BE SENT TO THE APPLI- CANT. SUCH LETTER SHALL INCLUDE THE DATE THE FORM WAS RECEIVED. B. WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF THE RECEIPT OF AN APPLICATION OR RENEWAL APPLICATION FROM AN APPLICANT, THE ENTITY THAT ADMINISTERS THE TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM SHALL APPROVE THE APPLICATION OR RENEWAL APPLICATION FOR THE TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM, DENY THE APPLICATION OR RENEWAL APPLICA- TION FOR THE TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM, OR REQUEST FURTHER INFORMATION OR DOCUMENTATION FROM THE APPLICANT. IF A REQUEST IS MADE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR DOCUMENTATION, THE ENTITY THAT ADMINISTERS THE TAX ABATE- MENT PROGRAM SHALL HAVE FIFTEEN DAYS AFTER SUCH INFORMATION OR DOCUMEN- TATION REQUESTED IS RECEIVED BY THE ENTITY TO EITHER APPROVE OR DENY THE APPLICATION OR RENEWAL APPLICATION. C. WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF ANY FORM OTHER THAN AN APPLICATION OR RENEWAL APPLICATION FORM FROM AN APPLICANT, THE ENTITY THAT ADMINISTERS THE PROGRAM SHALL ACT ON SUCH FORM. D. WITHIN THREE DAYS OF APPROVING OR REJECTING AN APPLICATION OR RENEWAL APPLICATION PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH B OF THIS SUBDIVISION OR ACTING UPON ANY OTHER FORM PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH C OF THIS SUBDIVISION, A WRITTEN NOTIFICATION SHALL BE SENT TO THE INDIVIDUAL WHO MADE SUCH APPLICATION OR RENEWAL APPLICATION OR SENT SUCH FORM. SUCH WRITTEN NOTIFICATION SHALL INCLUDE THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE ENTITY ADMINISTERING THE TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM, THE DATE SUCH ACTION WAS TAKEN, WHAT RECOURSE IS AVAILABLE SHOULD THE INDIVIDUAL BE DISSATISFIED WITH SUCH ACTION, AND HOW TO PURSUE THE RECOURSE AVAILABLE. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately, provided, however, that the amendments to section 467-b of the real property tax law made by section one of this act shall not affect the expiration of such section and shall be deemed to expire therewith.