Alan D. Feller, Esq.
Programs and Benefits available for Elderly New Yorkers
In the old days, before the internet, finding out about programs and opportunities required actual sleuthing. Regular trips to the library, attending presentations, awkward phone calls to strangers and eavesdropping on others’ conversations were necessary to compile useful lists of benefits. Today, accessing information from a computer or smartphone has simplified the process and removed many of the obstacles.
For Senior benefits, the first stop should be the website for the Office for the Aging corresponding to the County where you reside. There is usually a list of available programs under Senior Resources. In Putnam County, seniors can receive a photo identification card entitling them to obtain discounts from local merchants and mailings with updated information. Non-medical in-home services can also be applied for through the Office. This type of assistance (EISEP or Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly Program) can be utilized by adults aging in place who require some help with bathing, eating, toileting and dressing.
EPIC or Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage is a program that allows financially eligible seniors to receive a subsidy that pays or reduces their Medicare Part D drug plan cost. HEAP or Home Energy Assistance Program provides a subsidy to eligible Seniors over 60 and SSI recipients to pay for home heating costs during cold weather months, repairs to heating equipment as well as financial assistance for purchasing and installing air conditioners.
The pandemic has curtailed some on-site senior programs, but Adult Day Care Sites provide social and nutrition support for eligible seniors. These Senior Centers (in Putnam County – William Koehler, Putnam Valley, Carmel and Cold Spring) have a range of activities and recreational pursuits that are enriching and sustaining. Home food delivery can be an important lifeline to seniors. For the Wellness in Nutrition program, a Physician’s referral and home assessment are prerequisites for eligibility.
Active seniors may access a range of New York services that improve quality of life. The Golden Park Program provides free vehicle parking to those age 62 and over at most New York State parks, boat launch sites and arboretums and fee reduction to state historic sites and state-operated golf courses. No application is necessary, just show a photo id to park staff.
New York state residents 60 and up may audit classes, tuition-free, at all State University of New York and City University of New York schools. Individual exercise clubs and gyms also offer discounted membership for those 65 and up. Silver Sneakers programs are covered by some Medicare plans and provide a gym and lifestyle-based exercise structure geared for active seniors.
For Senior transportation services, the Office for the Aging should have current information. Prior to the pandemic, Retired and Senior Volunteers provided transportation services.
Elder care attorneys spend the lion’s share of our time discussing Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare. There are so many services and benefits available to seniors that should be utilized. Simple web searches can bring many of these programs to light. For additional information contact the professionals at Sloan and Feller today.