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Help available to Ocean County seniors applying for ANCHOR program

With information and applications arriving by U.S. mail or email, Ocean County officials want to make sure the county’s senior residents have help available in filling out the state ANCHOR program application should they need it.

“Our Office of Senior Services can help seniors at any one of three convenient locations for assistance completing the paperwork for the new ANCHOR program which provides property tax relief to New Jersey residents who owned or rented their principal residence on Oct. 1, 2019 and met certain income limits,” said Ocean County Commissioner Joseph H. Vicari.

“We want to reach out to as many seniors as possible to let them know not only about the program, but that we can help with applications and information,” Vicari said.

The office staff can help with information, but the application must be filled out by
the homeowner or renter, according to a press release from the county.

Seniors can contact any one of the Ocean County Office of Senior Services locations to schedule an appointment for help.

The offices are at the County Connection at the Ocean County Mall, Toms River; at 1027 Hooper Ave., Building 2, Toms River; and at the Ocean County Southern Service Center, 179 S. Main St., Manahawkin. Seniors can also call the office at 732-929-2091.

The Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters (ANCHOR) program application deadline is Dec. 30. ANCHOR benefits will be paid by the state starting in the late spring of 2023. The ANCHOR program replaces the Homestead Benefit program, according to the press release.

“While this program is open to property owners and renters of all ages, we want to make sure our seniors are not confused by this new program with any other property relief benefit like the Senior Freeze program they may be receiving,” Vicari said. “We are prepared to answer their questions.”

He cautioned residents not to throw out the application when it comes in the mail thinking it might be an advertisement.

According to the state, homeowners with incomes of $150,000 or less will receive
$1,500 under the ANCHOR program; homeowners with incomes of more than $150,000 and up to $250,000 will receive $1,000; and renters with incomes of $150,000 or less will receive $450 under the program.

Eligible homeowners can apply online, by phone, or upload or mail a paper application and necessary attachments using the state’s electronic filing systems. Renters have all the same options to apply except for by phone.

The state has set up an ANCHOR hotline for assistance: 1-888-238-1233.

“The Ocean County Office of Senior Services staff works tirelessly to help the elderly living in the county,” said John P. Kelly, director of the Ocean County Board of County Commissioners.

“With 200,000 seniors calling Ocean County home, many are on fixed incomes, including just Social Security. We want to make certain they apply for all property tax relief programs available to them,” Kelly said.

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