Rates Rebate Scheme
“The Rates Rebate’s scheme is in urgent need of an awareness campaign to ensure that all elderly receive their entitlements,” said Grey Power’s local body spokesman, Miles Jackson. “Grey Power is concerned that many people do not know that they can claim a full or partial rates rebate, depending on their circumstances.” Mr Jackson suggests that possibly Grey Power could voluntarily man booths in shopping centres to offer assistance in this regard along similar lines as the Tax Return booths that currently appear in malls.
Retirement villages is another anomaly that Grey Power would like looked at. People occupying houses in retirement villages pay rates, yet are not entitled to a rates rebate. “When Grey Power raised this issue with the politicians, we received support from one party who said that they would rectify this if they were elected.”
“Rates are a terrible burden to some seniors. Unlike power where you can cut back usage, savings cannot be made on rates. There seems to be no end to the rates increases and this is another area Grey Power wants councils to shape up on. Seniors are caught between a rock and a hard place; they are on fixed income and rates are fact of live but the GST on rates is a big imposition. Another of the parties at the last election said they would remove GST off rates if elected.”
The scheme is run by local councils with central government reimbursing the rebates to each council. The rebate is $580-00 per year adjusted with the CPI and seniors may be entitled to all or part of this depending on their income. “Any rebate can make a huge difference to the quality of life; money can be directed to necessities such as glasses and hearing aids.”
Grey Power feels that the idea of the IRD handling this scheme to simplify the rebates process, may be a viable option.
“For anyone who has not claimed their rebate, go speak to your local council. In our experience they are very helpful,” said Miles Jackson.
Grey Power National Internet Site: www.greypower.co.nz