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Property Tax Exemptions: People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans

There are two main factors that determine the amount of a Cook County property tax bill:

  • The levy, or the amount of money local governments charge property owners to cover government spending
  • The value of a taxpayer’s property

Exemptions are an additional factor. They lower tax bills by modifying the equalized assessed value (EAV), or taxed value, of a home.

Who qualifies for an exemption?

There are eight categories of exemptions in Cook County:

  1. Homeowner
  2. Senior
  3. Senior Freeze
  4. Persons with disabilities
  5. Returning veterans
  6. Veterans with disabilities
  7. Long-time homeowner
  8. Home improvement

This article discusses exemptions for senior citizens, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

What is a Seniors Exemption?

There are two categories of exemptions for senior citizens: the Senior Exemption and the Senior Freeze. To be eligible, the applicant must be at least 65 years old during the relevant tax year, and the property in question must be their principal residence.

A Senior Exemption is calculated by multiplying the Senior Exemption savings amount by the local tax rate. Your local tax rate is determined each year by the Cook County Clerk and can be found on your second-installment tax bill. Individuals receiving the Senior Exemption automatically qualify for the Homeowner Exemption and do not need to apply for it separately.

To qualify for the Senior Freeze:

  • Applicant must be 65 or older
  • Applicant must be liable for the payment of property taxes in previous years
  • Total household income must not surpass $65,000

Unlike the senior exemption, the senior freeze does not automatically renew and must be applied for annually.

What is a People with Disabilities Exemption?

If a homeowner receives the Persons with Disabilities exemption and then moves to a facility licensed under the Nursing Home Care Act, their home is still eligible to continue being exempt. However, certain conditions must be met. The property must either remain unoccupied or be occupied by the person’s spouse.

What is a Veterans Exemption?

There are two categories of exemptions for veterans: Returning Veterans and Veterans with Disabilities. Illinois residents who have served as a member of the US Armed Forces, Illinois National Guard, or US Reserve Forces returning from active duty are eligible.

The Returning Veterans Exemption provides a reduction in the equalized assessed value (EAV) of their property for each taxable year in which they return.

Veterans with a service-connected disability are eligible for the Veterans with Disabilities Exemption. The amount of the EAV deduction depends on the severity of the individual’s disability. If the service-connected disability is extreme, the veteran may be totally exempt from property taxes.

The Veterans with Disabilities exemption also extends to non-remarried surviving spouses. The exemption amount may be transferred to a new primary residence or continue to be applied to the original residence. A household that receives this exemption may not receive other related exemptions, even if the homeowner meets the criteria for more than one category.

The Veterans with Disabilities Exemption may not be combined with the Persons with Disabilities Exemption or Returning Veterans Homeowner Exemption to further reduce a property’s equalized assessed value.

How do I obtain an exemption? 

Eligibility for exemptions vary. Exemption applications require documentation to verify proof of home ownership, identify, occupancy veteran’s status, etc. Veterans and individuals with disabilities must provide additional forms from either the Secretary of State or Department of Defense. 

Some exemptions automatically renew from year to year. Additionally, it is possible to qualify for more than one form of exemption.

In addition to potentially being eligible for a property tax exemption, you always have the option to appeal your property taxes.

Property taxes unappealing? We can help!

Appealing your property taxes is one way to ensure that the amount you pay is fair whether you live in the north/northwest suburbs, south/southwest suburbs, or in the City of Chicago.

At present, Illinois is second only to New Jersey with the highest effective property tax rates in the United States. A 2020 study found that some Chicago area homeowners pay twice the national average in property taxes for a similarly valued home. Moreover, property tax hikes are slated for 2021.

Staying on top of your assessment notices and researching local appeal procedures can help homeowners avoid being overburdened with property taxes.

Appeal.Tax can prepare your property tax appeal and handle it from start to finish. There is no fee unless a reduction is obtained. And we only charge a small portion of the overall tax savings secured. 

Since 2015, we’ve saved Illinois property owners over $100 million in reduced property taxes. Contact Appeal.Tax today to discuss your Association, residential, or commercial property tax appeal. Tax Attorney Timothy Jacobs can be reached at 847-777-7270 or