What happened to my Homestead Rebate?

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Q. My property tax bill was sent out late this year and when I looked at it, my Homestead Rebate seemed to be significantly lower than previous years. Is it is just mine or has everyone’s amount been reduced and why?
— Homeowner

A. The Homestead Rebate provides some property tax relieve to qualified homeowners.

To be eligible, you must be a state resident who has owned and occupied a home in New Jersey as your principal residence on Oct. 1, 2016. You must have paid property taxes on your home, and meet the income requirements: to have earnings $150,000 or less for homeowners who are 65 or over, or blind or disabled, or to have earnings of $75,000 or less for those under age 65 and not blind or disabled.

We can’t speak specifically to your situation without seeing all of your paperwork, but a 50 percent cut to Homestead Rebates was in fact budgeted last year, said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with AXA Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.

“It was apparently implemented to prevent a government shutdown,” she said. “Recently the governor’s budget approved in July appropriated $143.5 million towards this program.”

D’Agostini said it was announced that another round of checks should go out on or about Nov. 1.

You do not have to reapply to receive these additional allocations, she said.

“Eligible seniors and disabled homeowners can expect to see a property tax reduction of $259,” she said. “Others that are eligible will receive approximately $202.”

Also note the deadline to file your 2016 application is Nov. 30, 2018.

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