Resources to Assist with Property Taxes, Rent and Utility Bills

Posted on 09/20/22

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We know many residents are struggling with New Jersey’s high cost of living. That's why AARP New Jersey fought to expand and establish state programs to help bring financial relief to thousands of residents.

Below, you'll find resources on how you can save money on your property taxes and rent through a new property tax relief program that New Jersey put in place.

You'll also find resources to help maintain your internet, keep keep your lights on and your water running. There are programs available that can offer financial relief to help with electric, gas and water bills, including past due bills.

PROPERTY TAXES AND RENT

Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters (ANCHOR)
A new state program, the Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters (ANCHOR), provides up to $1,500 in relief for eligible homeowners and up to $450 in relief for eligible renters.

This program provides property tax relief to New Jersey residents who owned or rented their principal residence (main home) on October 1, 2019, and met these income requirements:

  • A household income of under $150,000 will receive a $1,500 property tax benefit
  • A household income between $150,000 and $250,000 will receive a $1,000 property tax benefit
  • Renters with incomes up to $150,000 will receive $450 to help offset rent increases caused by increasing property taxes

ANCHOR replaces the Homestead Benefit program and will be distributed as a direct deposit or check instead of a credit. All payments will be going out in late spring. There is no age limit to apply. The application deadline has been extended. The application deadline is now January 31, 2022.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the state website here.

Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement)
The Senior Freeze Program reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled persons for property tax or mobile home park site fee increases on their principal residence (main home). To qualify, you must meet all the eligibility requirements for each year from the base year through the application year. Learn more about Senior Freeze here. The deadline for 2021 applications is October 31, 2022.

NJ Income Tax Property Tax Deduction/Credit for Homeowners and Tenants
Homeowners and tenants who pay property taxes on a primary residence in New Jersey, either directly or through rent, may qualify for either a deduction or a refundable credit when filing an Income Tax return. Learn more here and view eligibility requirements here.

Municipal Property Tax Relief (File with your local tax office)

File with your local tax office.

UTILITIES

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
The program will provide financial assistance to low-income households to reduce the balances they have on their residential water and wastewater bills. Applicants’ total gross household income must be at or below 60% of the state median income ($6,439 a month for a family of four). The assistance can be used to: restore services when they have been terminated; avoid service disruption for those in danger of disconnection, and help afford bill payment going forward; and support people who are current in their bills, but might be in danger of falling behind in the near future. Apply here or call 1-800-510-3102 for more information.

Visit the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' Frequently Asked Questions page here: LIHWAP Frequently Asked Questions.

New Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
The ACP provides eligible New Jerseyans a discount of up to $30 per month for high speed internet. It also includes a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider. Learn more about the ACP here, call 1-833-511-0311, or text INTERNET to 22777.

American Rescue Plan (ARP) Utility Debt Relief
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Utility Debt Relief Program is a separate program offered to help low-income households that are not currently enrolled in an energy assistance program such as LIHEAP or USF. An ARP grant may assist households that have fallen behind on their utility (gas and electric) payments. The program is funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services through the American Rescue Plan. ARP benefits are paid directly to your utility. You can call the ARP hotline from Monday through Saturday (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.) at 844-930-1778. A call center agent can check if your household is on the list of potentially eligible households. Be prepared to provide your heating utility account number and zip code.

Lifeline Credit Program
This program is for people who meet Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) eligibility requirements or who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It provides a $225 annual benefit in the form of a credit on electric and gas utility bills. The program includes utility customers as well as tenants whose utility bills are included in their rent. Learn more about the Lifeline Credit Program here or call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-792-9745.

Universal Service Fund (USF)
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NJ Board of Public Utilities has expanded the state’s Universal Service Fund, which helps make energy bills more affordable for low- and moderate-income customers. To be eligible, a household gross income must be at or below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, and pay more than 2% of its annual income for electric, or more than 2% for natural gas. If a household has electric heat, it must spend more than 4% of its annual income on electricity. View the income eligibility requirements. Learn more about the Universal Service Fund here or call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-510-3102. The application period is Oct. 1 - June 30.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP is designed to help low-income families and individuals meet home heating and medically necessary cooling costs. To apply for LIHEAP, you can apply online or contact an authorized local community action agency or community-based organization in your county for assistance. For people 60 or older, or who are disabled, applications may be received and returned by mail. Other households may apply by mail at the discretion of the local agency. Visit here to find out if you’re eligible. Learn more about LIHEAP here or call 1-800-510-3102. The application period is Oct. 1 - June 30.


2021

Read more below on ways AARP NJ fought for you in 2021.

Ways AARP New Jersey Fought - and Won - For your Financial Security in 2021
AARP New Jersey is working hard to ensure you have a brighter and more secure financial future. In 2021, we fought to expand state programs and initiatives to help thousands of New Jerseyans stay in their homes, grow their retirement savings, afford their prescription medications, and so much more.

Here are just a few things AARP New Jersey fought for – and won – this year.  

  • The elimination of the age cap on New Jersey’s Earned Income Tax Credit program (NJ EITC), which will benefit about 70,000 workers. NJ EITC is a cash-back tax credit that puts money back into the pockets of working families and individuals, including the self-employed, who earn low to moderate incomes. Previously, the program was closed to workers over the age of 64 – despite our workforce getting older and working longer. AARP NJ fought to eliminate this discriminatory age cap. And beginning in tax year 2022, workers 65 and older will benefit from the NJ EITC – and the increased financial security it provides. Learn more about the NJ EITC.
  • Expansion of utility payment assistance programs. The NJ Board of Public Utilities has expanded NJ’s Universal Service Fund, which helps make energy bills more affordable for low-income customers. This will help thousands of New Jerseyans establish affordable electric and gas bills based on a percentage of their income and forgive COVID-19 related arrearages. The state has also allocated federal relief funds and state funds for utility bill payment assistance programs. Learn more about the Universal Service Fund.
  • Full funding and updating of the Homestead Benefit Property Tax Relief Program. The Homestead Benefit program provides much-needed property tax relief to older residents; however, the credit has not kept pace with property tax increases. For the past 15 years it has been calculated on 2006 tax bills. AARP NJ advocated for the program’s full funding and updated calculation. The program will receive full funding and will now be based on 2017 property tax information, which is the most current program year. This will help residents confront the 40% rise in property taxes over the past 15 years and help residents age in place, where they want to be. Learn more about the Homestead Benefit Program.
  • Full funding of the public pension system. AARP New Jersey fights to ensure all workers who have paid into their public pension systems over a lifetime of hard work have the economic security their pensions afford in retirement. The new state budget fully funds the public pension system for the first time since 1996. Full funding is important to ensure the financial security of about 800,000 New Jersey households and improve the overall health of the system, serving the interests of all taxpayers. Learn more about the NJ pension program.
  • Expansion of New Jersey’s retirement income state tax exemption. Under current law, anyone with even $1 above the $100,000 income threshold cannot exclude any of their retirement income. Under the new budget, this cliff will be eliminated, increasing the income exclusion threshold to $150,000 and allowing certain deductions for those with income between $100,000 to $150,000. Learn more about the exemption.
  • Funds to start up the New Jersey Secure Choice Savings Program. In 2019, Governor Murphy enacted Secure Choice, which is a public-private partnership that will allow many of the 1.7 million private sector hardworking New Jerseyans who currently do not have a way to save for retirement at work, an affordable, voluntary and portable retirement savings plan that puts them in control of their futures. Under the statute, the program is set to open its doors in March 2022. AARP NJ advocated for the appropriation of start-up funds in the state budget to help get the program up and running. Learn more about the NJ Secure Choice Savings Program.
  • Expansion of income eligibility requirements for two pharmaceutical assistance programs, which allows 20,000 additional seniors and those with disabilities to qualify for this critical assistance to help afford their medications. This extension will also expand eligibility for critical utility assistance programs for those most in need. Learn more about the Senior Gold program and Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD).
  • Funds to move New Jersey’s age-friendly work forward. This year, New Jersey became the ninth state in the country to join AARP’s network of Age Friendly States and Communities. Joining this network is a commitment to improving areas such as housing, transportation, outdoor spaces, and access to needed services to make the state a better place for residents of all ages. Learn more about New Jersey’s age-friendly commitment.

AARP New Jersey will never stop fighting for the health and financial security of all New Jerseyans. 

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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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