A low-income senior or individual with a disability is currently eligible for 2 types of annual state assistance grants administered by the department of revenue related to his or her property: A grant for their property taxes or rent paid, with the latter being deemed a tax-equivalent payment (property tax and rent assistance grant), and a grant for heat or fuel expenses (heat assistance grant). Together these are commonly known as the "PTC" rebate.
The bill expands the property tax and rent assistance grant by repealing the requirement that rent must be paid to a landlord that pays property tax. For grants claimed for 2019, the bill also increases the grant amounts as follows:
- The maximum property tax and rent assistance grant is increased from $700 to $850;
- The maximum heat assistance grant is increased from $192 to $250; and
- The flat grant amount, which is the minimum grant amount, is increased from $227 to $275 for the property tax and rent assistance grant and from $73 to $100 for the heat assistance grant, assuming that the actual expenses exceed these amounts.
All of these amounts will continue to be adjusted annually for inflation.
For grants claimed for 2019, the maximum eligible income amounts for claiming the PTC rebates and the phase-out amounts, which are the income levels at which a person's maximum grant begins to decrease, are increased from the estimated inflation-adjusted amounts as follows:
- For an individual, the maximum eligible income amount to qualify for either type of grant is increased from $14,469 to $17,500 and the phase-out amount is increased from $7,780 to $9,500; and
- For spouses, the maximum eligible income amount to qualify for either type of grant is increased from $19,541 to $23,500 and the phase-out amount is increased from $12,576 to $15,500.
All of these amounts will also continue to be adjusted for inflation in the future.
Obsolete provisions relating to grants claimed for past years are repealed and other provisions relating to grants prior to 2019 are repealed after they become obsolete in the future.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)