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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 64

Opinions of Counsel index

Aged exemption (income requirement) (social security benefits for support of retarded adult child) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467:

Social security benefits received for the support of a retarded adult child are income for purposes of section 467.

We have received an inquiry concerning the income requirement of section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law which authorizes a partial exemption from real property taxation on the legal residence of certain senior citizens. The question is whether social security benefits paid to an aged individual for the support of a retarded “adult” child (25 years of age) should be considered income for purposes of section 467.

We have previously stated that social security payments made to an aged person for the support of his or her minor children must be included in determining income for purposes of the aged exemption (2 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 51). The express language of paragraph (a), subdivision 3 of section 467 which provides that “. . . income shall include social security . . . benefits . . .” can only lead to the same conclusion in this case; viz., that social security benefits paid for the support of a retarded “adult” child must be included as income for purposes of this statute.

Statutes granting exemptions from taxation must be strictly construed against the taxpayer seeking such exemption (Herkimer County v. Village of Herkimer, 251 App. Div. 126, 295 N.Y.S. 629, aff’d, 279 N.Y. 560, 18 N.E.2d 854) . To exclude these social security benefits would require an amendment to section 467 which can only be done by an act of the Legislature.

December 18, 1974