17 Benefits for Older Americans

As a New Yorker, age 60 or older, you may be missing out on dollar benefits and community services that could be yours. In these benefit notes, you’ll find important facts: how finances and age affect eligibility and little-known rules regarding eligibility.

Each county in New York State, outside of New York City, has an Office for Aging. If you are unable to contact your local Office for Aging, you should contact the State Office for Aging at (800) 342-9871. The New York City Human Resources Administration information and referral number is (877) 472-8411.

This article introduces seventeen major benefit programs:

  1. Social Security
  2. Medicare
  3. Medicare Buy-In
  4. Medicaid
  5. SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
  6. Temporary Assistance
  7. Veterans Benefits
  8. EPIC Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage
  9. Food Stamps
  10. Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
  11. Weatherization Referral and Packaging Program (WRAP)
  12. Senior Citizen Rent Increase (SCRIE)
  13. Senior Citizen Homeowners Exemption (SCHE)
  14. Real Property Tax Credit
  15. Reduced Fare
  16. 1New York State School Tax Relief Program (STAR)
  17. Life Line Telephone Service

In addition, there is brief discussion of non-cash programs which benefit seniors.

General Eligibility Rules

Because financial requirements vary, check with the individual program. Refer to the following as a broad guideline.

Resources that usually affect eligibility are cash, bank accounts, investments and valuables.

esources that generally do not count are a home, car, income-producing property and personal effects. There are usually special rules for separated or non-eligible spouses and for “spending down” resources.

Before transferring the ownership of your home or resources, consult an Elder-Law Attorney.

Income: Both earned and unearned usually count. Unearned income includes social security, supplemental security income, pensions, interest, valuable gifts. Earned income is wages for work performed.

In-kind income – when others pay for services – may or may not be counted. Check with each program. Because eligibility is often based on net income, look for deductions that may make you eligible.

Apply: even when you are not sure that you qualify. You may apply by mail, phone, in person, through an authorized representative or, if homebound, by requesting an in-home interview.

The income and resource numbers in this article are the 2009 figures. The income and resource levels may increase annually. Please check with the appropriate agency if you are using this pamphlet after 2009.

For full details on every program,
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