Disability Homestead Exemptions Information and Requirements
In Texas, a disabled adult has a right to a special homestead exemption. If you
qualify, this exemption can reduce your taxes substantially. By law, school
districts must provide a $10,000 disability exemption. Other taxing entities have
the option to offer disability exemptions of at least $3,000. If you qualify, you
will receive this exemption in addition to the general homestead exemption. However,
you can't receive both a disability exemption and an over-65 exemption.
An Application for Disability Homestead Exemption (same form
for over-65, general residential, or over-55 surviving spouse exemptions) can be
found at the Forms Page under the Residential Exemption Section (11-13). Click
Who is a disabled person for the purposes of this exemption?
The Texas Property Tax Code provides that you are entitled to the exemption if you
meet the Social Security Administration's tests for disability. In simplest terms:
- You must have a medically determinable physical or
- The impairment must prevent you from engaging in any
substantial gainful activity; and
- The impairment must be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or
to result in death.
Alternatively, you will qualify if you are 55 or older and blind and you cannot
engage in your previous work because of your blindness.
Do I have to be receiving disability benefits to qualify?
You do not have to be receiving disability benefits, but you must meet the
definition of disabled given above. If you receive disability benefits under the
federal Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Program through the Social
Security Administration, you will automatically qualify. Disability benefits from
any other program do not automatically qualify you for this exemption.
How do I claim the exemption?
To claim the exemption, you must file an application with the appraisal district.
The application must include documentation of your disability. The application form
is entitled "Application for Residential Homestead Exemption." This form can be
obtained from the Information and Assistance Division for the Harris County Appraisal District.
In it, you should complete all applicable information. Be especially certain to
mark the box that recognizes your claim for the disability exemption. You must also
provide medical documents verifying that you meet the definition of disability given
above. The most common reason for denial of this exemption is failure to include
Tax Deferrals for Disabled Persons
If you meet the definition of disabled given above, the law gives you an additional right.
Disabled persons can defer, or postpone, paying current and delinquent property taxes on
their homestead for as long as they own it and live in it. The tax deferral applies to taxes
owed to all taxing units that tax the homestead property. To postpone tax payments, you must
file a Tax Deferral Affidavit with the Harris County Appraisal District.
If you are disabled and have already been sued for delinquent taxes owed on your homestead,
you can stop the lawsuit by filing the deferral affidavit with the court in which the suit
If you are disabled and you file the Tax Deferral Affidavit properly, you cannot be displaced
from your home and your home cannot be sold for taxes as long as you live in the home and your
disability continues. While you need not pay any taxes to maintain the deferral, most taxing
units will credit any partial payments you might be able or wish to make toward the total tax
You should be aware that tax deferral only postpones the payment of the taxes owed, it does not
cancel them. Taxes, will continue to add up, and they accrue interest at the rate of 8% per year.
As soon as you cease to own the home or live in it, all taxes, penalties, and interest become
delinquent if not paid within 180 days. The taxing units may proceed with delinquent tax suits if the taxes remain
unpaid. The new homeowner or your estate must pay the tax liabilities to retain the property.
A homeowner is eligible to file a tax deferral as soon as he or she meets the definition given
above. There is no need to wait until the next January 1 to be eligible. Affidavit forms are
available in our information center or on this website at 33-06.pdf
While you file the affidavit with us, the appraisal district does not determine whether you
meet the definition of disability for the purposes of the deferral. We simply notify the taxing
units that you have filed it. The taxing units may ask you for information to support your
Decisions regarding tax deferrals should be carefully considered and discussed with family
members. The deferral option is also available to persons who are 65 years old or older.
What kind of documents should I include?
The appraisal district requires that you provide documentation to avoid the
possibility of erroneously granting an exemption, and then later removing it because
information received indicates that the exemption was inappropriate. Should this occur,
you might be subject to additional penalties and interest on property taxes that could
have been avoided.
- If you are receiving Social Security Disability,
provide a copy of your disability determination letter.
- If you are not receiving Social Security Disability, then you must have your
physician complete a Physician's Statement Verifying Eligibility for Disability Exemption. You can request
a form from the appraisal district or download it from the Forms Page under the Affidavits section.
Once you have completed the application and secured appropriate documentation, you
need to file your application with the chief appraiser. You can mail or file your
request directly with the appraisal district at the address on the form.
Action on your application usually will occur within four to six weeks from the date
it is received. If the district needs additional documentation, you will be notified
by letter. In such cases, the law requires that you provide the requested information
within 30 days from the date of the letter or your application must be denied.
In the event the appraisal district disagrees with your request, you'll be notified
and offered an opportunity to protest this decision before the appraisal review board.
For any questions or additional assistance, you are encouraged to call an HCAD
representative at the numbers and location listed on the