The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program, or SCRIE, is a program in New York city and some other areas that allows seniors who meet the eligibility requirements to avoid paying for rent increases. Instead, the tenant pays the same amount he has been paying and the SCRIE program pays the difference or provides the building owners with tax credits to make up for the lost income. This lets seniors with a low level of income to stay in their homes despite increasing rents. Eligibility is evaluated every one to two years, and changes in income, including proceeds from cashing in savings bonds, must be reported at that time.
Keep records of the amount of income you receive from selling your savings bonds. Put any receipts showing the amount you received from the bonds in a safe place, in case you should be asked to prove how much you received. Because the SCRIE program does not consider assets but only looks at income, savings bonds that have not been cashed will not count against you for this program.
Fill out your SCRIE renewal application when it comes in the mail. It will normally arrive about two months before it is due. Fill it out completely and include your total household income. The form has a place where you can list the source of income for everyone in the household. There is a space that is appropriate for interest income and income from sources other than work, including the sale of savings bonds. List the amount you received from your bonds in that section of the form. You do not need to submit any supporting documentation, but there are penalties for anyone who falsifies information on the application.
Check to make sure that the income information on your SCRIE form matches your state and federal tax forms. It is possible that your SCRIE application and your tax forms will be compared, so to avoid possible problems it is important that they match.
- The SCRIE program in New York is handled by the Department of Finance. The department has staff available to answer questions if you are uncertain or confused about any aspect of the program.
- Eligibility for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program is based on your disposable household income and what percentage of your total income you are paying in rent. If you cash enough savings bonds to raise your income above the allowable maximum, $29,000 annually in 2011, you will lose your eligibility for SCRIE. If you cashed bonds because your allowable expenses increased, be sure to document that in the appropriate section of the form. As long as your disposable income stays below the specified amount, you will remain eligible for the program.
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