Senior Citizens Aren't Getting Any Younger

2022 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Cook County, Ill., IL

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About the Program

Category: County Administration and Management (Best in Category)

Year: 2022

The Cook County Assessor's Office (Assessor’s Office) administers property tax saving programs for residential property owners in Cook County, Illinois. These savings, known as exemptions, provide significant savings to homeowners including seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities. Seniors in particular benefit greatly from these exemptions. Prior to Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s role as Cook County Assessor, seniors were required to apply for the Senior Exemption every year, proving they are still over the age of 65. Assessor Kaegi recognized the administrative burden this presented as he witnessed seniors visiting the office during the coldest months in Chicago to reapply for their annual exemptions. Assessor Fritz Kaegi championed a bill that amends the Illinois Property Tax Code so that a homeowner who has been granted a Senior Exemption in Cook County will not need to reapply for the exemption every year. Through intergovernmental cooperation and technological modernization within the Assessor’s Office, seniors are no longer burdened with the need to reaffirm their age each year. The Assessor’s Office now sends out annual post cards to seniors, reaffirming the automatic renewal of exemptions. Seniors who are applying for the exemption for the first time can now simply apply online.