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Kokua Line: Yearly earnings over $30K negate property tax break for disabled

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - 1/22/2019

Jan. 22--Question: My wife is 62 years old, and she is disabled (bedridden). I want to know what kind of exemption she might qualify for, for real property tax.

Answer: You confirmed in a follow-up email that your wife holds title to the Oahu property and that her disability is unrelated to military service. In that case she could apply for a $25,000 exemption reserved for property owners who are blind, deaf or totally disabled, subject to medical verification. If granted, $25,000 would be subtracted from the assessed value of the property before the tax was calculated. This would be in addition to the home exemption for owner-occupants.

Your wife (or you on her behalf) must file a form P-6 (808ne.ws/disexp), which explains the eligibility requirements and the medical verification process.

As the form explains, "person totally disabled" means "a person who is totally and permanently disabled, either physically or mentally, which results in the person's inability to engage in any substantial gainful business or occupation."

Anyone who earns more than $30,000 a year is presumed ineligible, as that income level indicates gainful employment, the form states.

The doctor's certification includes the diagnosis, when the individual became totally disabled, whether the disability is permanent and other information.

Once granted, the exemption need not be refiled annually, as long as all requirements continue to be met, according to the city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services' Real Property Assessment Division.

We asked about military service because there is a different exemption for totally disabled veterans injured while on active duty with U.S. armed forces. They are exempt from all but the minimum property tax ($300).

Q: Will they still have that program that helps senior citizens fill out their taxes? Or is it shut down because of the problem with federal funding?

A: Yes to your first question and no to your second. The AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program, which provides free income tax preparation to low- to moderate-income taxpayers, especially those age 50 and older, is scheduled to run from the beginning of February to mid-April.

There will be 16 Oahu locations, according to the program's online search tool, which you can find at 808ne.ws/locate.

Q: Where is the new homeless rest stop exactly, and is it open all night?

A: The Punawai Rest Stop is at 431 Kuwili St., between Iwilei Road and Pine Street. No, it is not open around the clock. Its restrooms, showers and laundromat are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The facility, which is run by the nonprofit Mental Health Kokua, also provides mail service and other assistance, such as applying for a government ID.

Auwe

I see so many vehicles with expired registration and safety stickers that are still on the road. They should enforce this violation. I see 20 a day, I swear. Instead they jack up the prices for us law-abiding citizens who do the right thing and register our vehicles. -- Mark

Mahalo

I would like to thank the person who turned in my passport at the FedEx Office at Pearl Highlands in Pearl City.

I made a copy of my passport, and after gathering all the paperwork, I completely forgot to remove my passport from the copier machine.

I noticed my passport was missing as I went home. I went back to the FedEx Office and asked the worker if anyone had turned in a passport.

And yes, the person did. I am truly grateful to that person. I wish him or her a healthy and safe new year. -- Retired senior citizen

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Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

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