The inability to conduct business in person or by regular channels has hampered everyone’s ability to complete transactions. But perhaps the greatest demographics affected by these changes are the elderly and disabled, particularly those who are not computer literate. Typically, this population comes to the Government Center in person to requalify every year for the Tax Relief for the Elderly and Disabled program, a state law requirement. With the pandemic, concern for the health of the elderly and disabled along with Stafford employees has prompted the County and the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office to seek different temporary new methods to assist.
“The Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office had to adapt to a new system due to COVID-19 in order to ensure residents still had access to this program,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Crystal Vanuch. “The Board applauds the efforts of staff and their desire to help our most vulnerable population.”
Those who participated in the program last year will receive a letter with an affidavit to sign attesting that their financial and medical situations have not changed. Applicants can sign the affidavit and return it in the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope from Stafford County. Anyone new to applying for the program can receive an affidavit through the mail.
Affidavits will be mailed on February 17, and responses must be sent in by April 1 to be eligible for the 2021 tax relief. The Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office is aware of challenges with the post office and will work with applicants.
“My office deals with the absolute most vulnerable people in Stafford, in terms of health and finances,” said Commissioner of the Revenue Scott Mayausky. “We ask everyone to be patient as we try a different method for qualification for the program and promise we will make sure that everyone who qualifies will receive relief.”
The tax relief program is an optional program not used by many localities. The Board of Supervisors chose to offer it, and it has been in place for more than 40 years. Typically, participants make several trips to meet with the Commissioner of the Revenue staff to provide required proof of income and net worth. The process can be lengthy. The affidavit process will help protect the health of those most at risk of the pandemic.
The County asks that all caregivers, friends and families assist any eligible residents with the affidavit process. Those with questions may contact Linda Gillispie at (540) 658-4132.