Archived Story

Pagel bill helps nursing home residents

Published 11:57am Friday, June 7, 2013


State Rep. Dave Pagel Friday introduced legislation making it easier for people living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities to continue receiving the principal residence tax exemption (PRE) on their primary home.


House Bill 4810 removesthe phrase “is not for sale” from the section of existinglaw that allows residents of a nursing home or assisted living facility to retain their PRE over the duration of their stay.


The proposed change was spurred by Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski and Lynn Kellogg, chief executive officerof the Region IV Area Agency on Aging, who notified Pagel that the stipulation that the property “is not for sale” disqualified many nursing home residents who intend to return to community living but need to move to a smaller or more handicapped accessible home.


“By placing their homes on the market, the seniors who are currently living in nursing homes will lose their PRE, even though they meet all the other conditions of the law,” said Pagel, R-Oronoko Township. “This small change will have a great impact on seniors who are looking to return home after their time in assisted living is over.”


            Kellogg agreed that the change would help many seniors across the state.


“This amendment removes a financial barrier for local residents who currently live in a nursing facility but intend to move back to the community,” Kellogg said. “Many nursing home residents need to sell their current home to afford to move to a smaller or more accessible dwelling. This amendment will allow seniors temporarily living in a nursing home to continue to receive the Homestead Property Tax exemption while they attempt to sell their home.”


Last session, Public Act 324extended the PRE to those living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, provided that the owner: continues to own the property and provides for its maintenance; does not establish a new principal residence; and insures the property is not occupied, not for sale, and not leased or used for any business or commercial purpose.


“Older Michigan residents should not be punished by having to pay more in taxes when they are not able to live in their own homes due to health reasons,” Pagel said. “Eliminating this one requirement will encourage seniors to maintain or find a principal residence that is better suited to their needs.”


The measure was referred to the House Tax Policy Committee.


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