Can we go back to an old base year for the Senior Freeze?


Q. An elderly relative of mine with a modest fixed income had been in the Senior Freeze program for many years. A few years ago, her U.S. saving bonds had all matured and had stopped paying interest. After cashing the saving bonds, the additional income put her slightly over the income limit set by the Senior Freeze program. While it was bad that she would not qualify for a Senior Freeze that year, things got worse when she found out she had a new, $1,500 higher base. Is there anything she can do?
— Trying to help

A. The Senior Freeze reimburses senior citizens that meet the eligibility requirements for property tax increases.

Let’s first go over the program.

To be eligible for the Senior Freeze, you or your spouse or civil union partner must be age 65 or older as of Dec. 31, 2020 or receiving Social Security disability benefit payments.

You also would have needed to live in New Jersey continuously since Dec. 31, 2010 as either a homeowner or renter, said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with Equitable Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown. If you were a homeowner, you must have lived in your home since Dec. 31, 2019. You also must have paid your property taxes by June 1 each year, she said.

You qualify with income in 2021 of $94,178 or less, D’Agostini said. The Senior Freeze looks at the current and prior year income. If your income stays below the income threshold for two years, you can reapply, but you would lose the original base year, which is what happened to your relative, D’Agostini said.

The deadline to file for 2022 is Oct. 31.

“You must have met the eligible income requirements for each year from the base year through the application year,” D’Agostini said.

Sorry we don’t have better news for your relative.

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This story was originally published in on April 11, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.