Elderly and disabled residents of Alexandria and fairfax County who are interested in obtaining tax relief and rental help have only a few more days to act. Applications for assistance under the programs of both jurisdictions must be received or postmarked by Monday, May 1. Fairfax
fairfax County offers a program of poperty tax relief, rental grants, relief from personal property tax on vehicles and free county tag decals for senior citizens and the permanently and totally disabled of any age, according to Nancy L. Lauzier, who heads the program in the county office of assessments.
For all programs, the qualifications are the same.
Age 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled.
Gross household income from all sources of not more than $11,000 a year. The first $4,000 of income of each relative living in the home, other than the spouse, is not counted. But exemptions or benefits are reduced dollar for dollar for combined income that exceeds $10,000 a year. Thus, an owner with a $1,500 tax bill and a combined income of $10,200 would receive only $1,300 in tax exemption, and a renter who has $10,200 combined income and who otherwise would qualify for the maximum gfrant of $325, would receive only $125. Income from all sources, including Social Security, is counted. A renter seeking a grant would be disqualified if he or she receives welfare payments from the state.
Applicant and spouse living in the household cannoth have a net worth in excess of $35,000, excluding, in the case of owners, the house and up to one acre of land. Land exceeding one acre is treated as an asset.
Relief from personel property tax applies to vehicles only. It can be granted for one auto per household or for one pickup truck if the truck is for personal, not business, use. It also can be granted for a mobile home if the home is used as a residence.
In towns within the county that have their own tag decals, inquiries should be made to the towns rather than the county.
The amount of the rental grant is 15 percent of the actual rent paid during 1977 or $325, whichever is less. An applicant living in the county for less than a year would be allowed 15 percent of the total rent paid while living in the county or $27 per month of residence, whichever is less.
Three categories of persons are ineligible for the rent grant. They are (1) residents of rental properties owned and leased by the county Redevelopment and Housing Authority, (2) residents of a nonprofit facility whose owners are exempted form payment of real estate taxes and (3) owners of mobile homes on leased or rented land.
Statistics for the program, released by Lauzier's office, show a high rate of approval. Here are the figures for senior-citizen applicants during 1977; the first figure indicates the number who applied, and the second figure indicates the number approved:
Real estate tax relief - 1,113 and 1,059; personal property (vehicle) tax relief - 1,167 and 1,076; rental grants - 734 and 714; free tag decals - 1,234 and 1,040.
Other information can be obtained by calling 691-2437.
Application must be made once a year. Information supplied is treated as confidentail. Application forms can be obtained and filed at any of seven locations. Filed applications require notarization, and each location are:
Massey Building, 4100 Chain Bridge Rd., Fairfax (fourth floor for real estate, third floor for personal property, vehicle decal and rental).
Franconia - 6121 Franconia Rd.
Groveton - 6210 N. Kings Highway.
Mason - 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale.
McLean - 1437 Balls Hill Rd.
Reston - 11415 Isaac Newton Square.
West Springfield - 6140 Rolling Rd., Springfield. Alexandria
More applications for relief in Alexandria than ever before seem likely this year, said Charles R. Townsend, who is in charge of the housing-aid plans for the city's Finance Department.
His forecast and other reports indicate that for elderly, the poor and the disabled, the housing situation in the historic old city is growing worse. Property taxes are cited as a big factor, but so are fuel costs, the conversion of moderate-rent apartments to condominiums and general inflation.
"We get a flock of calls' every year after the annual reappraisal, commented Townsd.
Alexandria's programs of tax exemption and rent relief are similar to those of other suburban jursidictions in virginia. For both programs, the general requirements are:
Age 65 or older or permanent and total disability.
Annual application or reapplication.
Combined income of no more than $11,000 per year. T he first $4,000 of income of any relative, other than a spouse, living int he dwelling, is not counted.
Combined financial worth of owner, spouse and relatives living in the home must not exceed $35,000, excluding the value of the property in the case of owners.
Direct subsidies from federal, state or local sources can disqualify. Social Security income is treated like any other income. Receipt of food stamps is disregarded.
For both owners and renters, a sliding scale reduces benefits as income brackets go up. The maximum exemption for property tax is $550 per year, and the maximim check for rent relief is $325 per year.
Of 315 applications for property-tax relief sought for 1977, Townsend said, 296 were certified as eligible.For rental relief, 278 applications were received and 216 were certified.
Townsend's office is Room 105-C of City Hall; the phone number is 750-6624.
For all programs, his office works closely with Senior Citizens Employment and Services of Alexandria, Inc., a nonprofit corporation established in 1968. It originally was set up to aid the employment of senior citizens, but has since branched out to help those age 60 and over in a number of fields. All its services are free.
Housing is one of the most difficult areas, according to Margot S. Marmor, associate director of the corporation. She cited the conversion of apartment buildings to condeominiums, and rising rents.
One man being helped by Senior Citizens Employment and Services,she noted, has an income of $300 a month - and has just received a rent increase to that exact figure.
Marmor said the agency's volume is "growing all the time."
"We get many calls from people who say 'I've never asked for assistance before, but I'm forced to now.'"
Good, second-hand clothing is inexpensive, she said, and for that reason many people coming to the agency appear well-dressed despite their low incomes. A substantial number of those her office helps, she added, have incomes of only $2,000 to $4,000 per year, and "the question is how they eat, how they cope wtih the higher transportation and medical bills and the general cost of living."
From April 1977 through March 1978 the organization had 2,733 walk-ins, received 15,628 incoming information and referral calls, received 1,333 job orders and made 540 job placements.
It issued 797 cards for people age 60 and over, entitling them to discounts in stores, and 451 cards to those 65 and over, entitling them to discounted rides on Metro.
The corporation also runs a transportation program under which those who qualify can travel anywhere within the Alexandria city limits by cab, for 50 cents in each direction. The program recieves a federal subsidy under the Older Americans Act.
The orders for the rides are ussually placed the preceding day except in emergencies, said Ernest C. Byrd Jr., the program's coordinator. The contract for the current federal fiscal year is held by Diamond Cab, he added. Byrd pointed out that under the program, a ride costing $1 round trip can in some instances have a normal cost of $10 to $11.
Mary Ann Ormes is director of the service. It is located at 121 N. St. Asaph Street, and the phone number is 836-4414. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.