Simotas Bill Helping Seniors and Disabled with Housing Costs Signed Into Law

Law guarantees a smooth transition for seniors and disabled
August 2, 2012
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas announced that yesterday Governor Andrew Cuomo approved her bill to make tax abatement programs more transparent and accessible for seniors and persons with disabilities. The bill will strengthen the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program and the Disabled Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE), which offer eligible tenants an exemption from rent increases. The owners of the apartments receive a credit against their real estate taxes.

“We must do all we can to help our seniors and neighbors with disabilities stay in the communities they love, and of which they are an integral part,” Simotas said. “Seniors and individuals with disabilities on fixed incomes often cannot afford rent increases. Strengthening programs like SCRIE and DRIE will help more New Yorkers afford to stay in their homes.”

Importantly, this bill requires that municipalities develop a system to ensure that individuals receiving benefits under the DRIE program’s eligibility are transitioned to the SCRIE program seamlessly upon reaching the appropriate age. Additionally, the bill clarifies the eligibility criteria to protect individuals from being wrongfully excluded from the benefit. For SCRIE eligibility, applicants must be 62 years of age or older, rent an apartment that is regulated by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, have an annual household income of $29,000 or less, and pay more than one-third of the household's aggregate disposable income for rent. Eligible individuals may apply by mailing a completed application and proof of residence to NYC Department of Finance, SCRIE Exemption, 59 Maiden Lane, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10038 or filing an application online at nyc.gov/accessnyc.

“I have been pleased to have so many people contact me about these important programs, and I encourage others to reach out to my office for assistance with the application process,” said Simotas. “I was proud to see this bill signed into law to protect our disabled seniors from facing eviction.”

Those with questions about the SCRIE program can contact Simotas’ district office at 718-545-3889 or simotasa@assembly.state.ny.us.