COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Homestead exemption has been around for years, but the state budget makes a bi-partisan adjustment that lawmakers say is long overdue.

The state’s homestead exemption aims to help low-income seniors, disabled Ohioans, disabled veterans and surviving spouses of public safety personnel killed in the line of duty.

“To ensure that owning and living in a home in Ohio is an achievable dream for everyone,” Representative Nick Demetriou (R-Bainbridge Township) said.

The exemption is $25,000 dollars for: seniors (65 years and older) who make a modified adjusted gross income of $36,100 or less, permanently, and totally disabled Ohioans, or an Ohioan who is at least 59 years old and the surviving spouse of an individual who previously received the exemption.

There are “enhanced exemptions,” at $50,000 for: homes of military veterans who are totally disabled and their surviving spouses; and for surviving spouses of peace officers, firefighters, or other emergency responders who die in the line of duty or by an injury or illness sustained in the line of duty.

That means if someone’s home has a taxable value of $100,000 dollars, under the homestead exemption, they would pay taxes for the value of $75,000 or $50,000.

“When you hear stories where people have to choose between paying their taxes or having their medicines, we need to try to do whatever we can to help the people of the state,” President of the County Auditors Association of Ohio Craig Snodgrass said.

Snodgrass said the exemption helps enrolled Ohioans save $400 to $500 a year in taxes.

The exemption numbers have not changed since 2007. Representatives Demetriou and Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township) introduced House Bill 57 to change that. It passed the House floor with complete bi-partisan support and zero ‘nay’ votes in May.

After passing the House, much of the bill was added to the state budget. Now the homestead exemption numbers will adjust according to inflation. So, if inflation is at 8%, the exemption increases from $25,000 to $27,000 and from $50,000 to $54,000.

“No one has been able to escape the grip of crushing inflation,” Demetriou said.

Hall said their work with the homestead exemption is not done yet. He said he would like to expand eligibility, for example, by raising income limits.

“This legislation by no means is the end all, be all, fix all for Homestead or for seniors or disabled veterans,” Hall said. “But I assure you this is the first step.” No one is enrolled for the exemption automatically, if you think are eligible, fill out this form to apply.