By Lexi Browning
For the West Virginia Press Association
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia House of Delegate’s Committee on Senior Citizen Issues passed legislation Thursday that could provide a tax credit for modifying the residence of an elderly person or person with a disability.
House Bill 2848, known as the Livable Home Tax Credit, is sponsored by Del. Ruth Rowan, R-Hampshire. The bill proposes a credit of 50 percent – on expenditures up to $5,000 — to make homes more accessible and sustainable for independent living.
Delegates Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell, Tony Lewis, R-Preston, Dana Lynch, D-Webster, Terri Sypolt, R-Preston, Zack Maynard, R-Lincoln, Tony Paynter, R-Wyoming, Jeff Eldridge, D-Lincoln, Patrick Martin, R-Lewis, and Brent Boggs, D-Braxton also sponsored the legislation.
If passed, renovations deemed appropriate could be applied in the year the investment was made. Individuals may apply for an additional modification in the following year, but not for the same purpose.
In text, the phrase “older adults” is defined as the “age of 62 or older.”
Eligible renovations include: furniture risers, handrails, grab bars, shower seats, stair lifts, ramps, zero step entrance and doors usable by a person in a wheelchair.
Tax credit would be applied in the year the modifications were made to the residence and cannot exceed $5,000, the bill states. Credit will not apply to a rental property unless the property owner verifies the renovations via written consent.
Applications would be accessible through the West Virginia Housing Development Fund.
The bill was referred to the floor with the recommendation that it passes.
The committee also recognized AARP West Virginia State Director Gaylene Miller and applauded the efforts of the Volunteer Capitol Advocacy Team at the meeting’s conclusion.
Miller said she and her team were proud to serve and protect West Virginia’s 300,000 AARP members – and all members nationwide – in the fight against financial exploitation.
“In 2003, AARP was a founding member of the WV Financial Exploitation Task Force,” Miller said. “Many of those individuals who serve on the task force are on the front lines, and they know what’s working and what needs to be changed in order to stop these predators.”
Miller said the organization appreciated the legislature’s bipartisan support in changing and updating laws to benefit West Virginia seniors.
“As we’ve learned in this fight against financial exploitation, the bad guys are really good at what they do, so beyond these hallways, AARP provides information and education about these programs that help individuals help themselves because we believe the best consumer is a well-informed consumer.”