The Mission of the Sun City Community Assistance Network is to, “Connect people with resources to enhance their standard of living.”
In other words, Sun City CAN helps people save money on things like property taxes, income taxes, utilities, Medicare premiums, prescription drugs and other things.
Many benefits go unclaimed simply because people are unaware that the benefits exist. In an effort to shed light on some of the help that is available to low-income seniors, I will write a guest commentary each month about a different senior help program.
Below is a listing of benefits available for low-income seniors that some may not realize are available.
Certain disabled persons are eligible for a tax break on the property taxes they pay on their residence.
For purposes of this property tax exemption, a person is “totally and permanently disabled if the person is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity, for pay or profit, by reason of any physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months or more,” according to the Arizona Constitution Article 9, Section 2.2.
There is no age restriction. This applies to all ages, including seniors in their 80s and 90s. In other words, if you are unable to work for pay or profit because of physical or mental impairment, you are totally and permanently disabled for purposes of this property tax exemption.
Many of us know an elderly friend who has Parkinson’s, dementia, MS, failing eyesight or any one of the many chronic illnesses associated with aging. They may be eligible for this property tax exemption. To qualify, a physician must sign a certificate of disability that includes a statement that “the applicant is unable to engage in substantial gainful activity and therefore is considered to be totally and permanently disabled as defined above.”
If a physician certifies you to be disabled as defined above and your annual income (excluding Social Security and veteran’s disability payments) is less than $34,301 if there are no minor children in the home, you are eligible for a significant reduction in you property taxes. Again, do not include Social Security when computing your annual income.
The disability exemption exempts $41,117 of the limited cash value of your home with a corresponding reduction in annual property taxes. For instance, if the limited cash value of your home is $100,000, the disability exemption would reduce that to $58,883 for tax purposes. This is a permanent exemption as long as the eligibility requirements are met. Renewal is not required.
If you think that you are eligible for this program, call the Maricopa County Assessor’s office at 623-236-8093 located in the Sun City Community Assistance Network office at 10195 W. Coggins Drive.
Editor’s Note: Hugh Duncan is Sun City Community Assistance Network board president.