New Jersey’s affordability crisis has hit older residents particularly hard. Too many people have been forced to choose between life-saving medications, paying rent, buying food and meeting other critical needs.
AARP New Jersey is in your corner fighting for expanded property tax relief, fair prescription drug prices, support for family caregivers, and a safe, quality long-term care system.
Recently, Governor Murphy signed a new state budget and enacted landmark legislation to significantly reduce property taxes for older residents and lower prescription drug costs.
Thank you to our NJ lawmakers who passed measures that address New Jersey’s affordability crisis and will help residents remain in their homes and communities – where they want to be. The new laws that AARP NJ fought for include:
Expanded Property Tax Relief
Property tax relief will be expanded for older New Jerseyans, including renters, through ANCHOR, the Senior Freeze and the new Stay NJ to help older New Jerseyans remain in their homes and communities.
|New Jersey’s ANCHOR program will provide property tax relief to New Jersey residents who owned or rented their principal residence (main home) on October 1, 2020 and met the 2020 gross income limits (Homeowners $250,000 and Renters/Tenants $150,000).|
Under the new law, eligible senior homeowners can now receive up to $1,750, a more than 16% increase from last year, and eligible senior renters can receive up to $700, a more than 50% increase from last year. In its first year of operation, ANCHOR provided property tax relief to more than 1.5 million homeowners and tenants, including more than 500,000 New Jerseyans 65 and older. For more information, visit aarp.org/NJResources.
|In addition, the law expands NJ’s Senior Freeze property tax relief program beginning with the 2023 filing season to those with incomes up to $150,000 and reduces the 10-year tenancy requirement. By increasing the income eligibility limits and modifying home ownership requirements, the program will be open to about 58,000 additional older and disabled residents. For more information, visit aarp.org/NJResources.|
|And even more property tax relief is coming your way! On June 30, 2023, Governor Murphy enacted landmark legislation to implement a new property tax relief program – StayNJ. The program will reduce New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes for most New Jerseyans 65 and older by 50% up to $6,500 per year. The program is designed as a credit on older, eligible homeowners’ property tax bills, and will be in effect beginning the first quarter of 2026. The program is estimated to significantly reduce property taxes for more than 400,000 older New Jerseyans.|
Lower Prescription Drug Costs
|A new law that AARP NJ supported will set maximum out-of-pocket costs per month for insulin at $35, epi-pens at $25, and asthma inhalers at $50. The out-of-pocket caps will be effective for state-regulated plans issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2025. This is an important step toward ensuring these life-saving medications are more affordable to the New Jerseyans who depend on them, including the more than 622,000 New Jerseyans who have diabetes.|
|After a multi-year fight, the Governor and NJ Legislature stood up to big drug companies and enacted legislation on July 10, 2023 to establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Council. This panel of experts will examine pricing trends across the pharmaceutical supply chain and provide the Legislature with actionable recommendations on how to make prescription drugs more affordable. Until now, no state entity was responsible for understanding drug prices, or whether the prices New Jerseyans were paying were justified and reasonable. Appointments must be made to the Council by January 2024.|
|Another new law was enacted that will expand the income eligibility for two New Jersey pharmaceutical assistance programs, Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged & Disabled (PAAD) and Senior Gold. It also establishes a new Senior Save Navigator Grant Program, which will recruit and train individuals who will then assist older residents with their applications and support applicants’ enrollment in the programs.|
Improved Financial Security
|Financial security in retirement is crucial to helping people remain in their homes and communities and is a core component of AARP’s mission to enhance the quality of life for all as we age, including for generations to come. AARP supported and we commend the state for fully funding our public pension programs for the third year in a row. This payment will significantly strengthen the health of these systems, which support hundreds of thousands of New Jersey retirees and their families, as well as save all taxpayers money by reducing the state’s unfunded liability.|
|The new state budget also doubles the funding for the implementation start-up of the NJ Secure Choice Savings Program, which is an affordable and voluntary retirement savings program for private sector workers who do not currently have a way to save for retirement at work. Currently, about 47 percent of New Jersey private sector workers ages 18 to 64 are employed by businesses that do not have a way to save for retirement at work, approximately 1.5 million private sector, hard-working New Jerseyans. Secure Choice will allow private sector workers an affordable, voluntary and portable retirement savings program that puts them in control of their futures. Currently, New Jersey’s Secure Choice Savings Program is targeted to open by the second quarter of 2024.|
|On June 30, the NJ Legislature sent the Governor legislation to reform New Jersey’s Small Group Health Insurance Market. The originally proposed legislation would specifically allow insurance companies to increase premiums for older New Jerseyans simply because they are older. By definition, that is a penalty based on age. In the face of AARP New Jersey’s opposition, the legislation was amended to eliminate the bill’s originally proposed increase in the age tax for older workers purchasing plans in this market.|
Support for Caregivers and Long-Term Care Workforce
|The FY ’24 state budget includes the creation of a new Caregiver Resource Hub to help family caregivers navigate the challenging process of finding forms, paperwork and services as they plan to care for their older loved ones. This is an important initiative as many family caregivers find it difficult, if not impossible, to find knowledgeable, consumer-friendly caregiving information and resources online.|
|After a lifetime of hard work and contributing to our society, seniors deserve to live with independence, security and dignity. The FY ’24 state budget includes funding for workforce development that will help get more qualified workers to provide in-home services for seniors so that older New Jerseyans can choose to remain in their homes and communities. The FY ’24 state budget also provides funding for the Jersey Assistance for Community Caregiving (JACC) which will increase rates for care management and expand hours of service to ease the burden on our unpaid family caregivers.|
AARP New Jersey will never stop fighting for the health and financial security of all older New Jerseyans.
This story is provided by AARP New Jersey. Visit the AARP New Jersey page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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