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New York Office of Aging assistance programs.

The New York Office of Aging has locations in most counties across New York. A diverse range of programs are offered for seniors and elderly, including emergency financial assistance, food, nutrition, transportation, and information on health insurance and medical programs. Resources listed below (as well as application phone numbers) tend to be available in New York for individuals who are 55 years of age or older, and who meet other conditions such as low income.

Find help for paying bills for senior citizens

Financial needs may be met from the Emergency Assistance for Adults program, or EAA. This resource may be able to help elderly individuals meet and address emergency financial needs. Eligible people need to be, among other things, receiving, Social Security. EAA provides cash assistance in certain qualified hardship situations, such as providing funds to cover food expenses, utility bills, or rent assistance. Money can also be paid out to provide for lost, stolen or not received SSI checks.

Your local department of social services should be called in order to get more information or to apply, and be sure to indicate you are a senior or over 55 years old. In New York City call the Human Resources Administration Infoline, and that phone number is 1-718-557-1399. Even if a senior citizen is not qualified, there are many other sources of financial help for low income families as well as elderly households.

Utility Help for Emergencies and Bill Assistance may be provided by American Red Cross locations in New York. The non-profit organization operates senior assistance programs with various gas and electric utility companies around the state. These Red Cross programs help persons over 60 years of age with paying for heating and utility emergencies. Disabled persons and those with certain medical conditions may also benefit from these American Red Cross energy programs.

A common emergency addressed by this Red Cross assistance program is for a heating crisis, such as a disconnection of service or a threatened shutoff because of a broken down furnace or an overdue bill. Any form of assistance is very limited, and conditions need to be met. In addition, Red Cross utility or heating bill help is generally given to an individual only once a year at most. Call your nearest office for the aging or American Red Cross office for more information.




Additional electric, heating, and cooling bill assistance may be provided to seniors and disabled from the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). Cash can be provided to pay heating bills for low-income families and individuals. The energy assistance program is paid for by the federal government, but it is administered in New York by local offices for the aging for people age 60 and over and local social services departments for people under age 60.

The program opens up in November of each year. The HEAP provides grants for bills on a first come, first serve basis to qualified individuals until the funds provided for each heating season run out. The earlier you apply the better chance to receiving a grant, as funding is limited. Find more energy bill assistance programs in New York State.

Indigent funeral programs - Certain parts of the state (and some local governments) will provide financial aid to pay for burial or cremation expenses once a senior citizen passes away. The person who died needs to be local and have no other assets available to them, such as savings. There is also a maximum dollar amount available in New York state. Find resources that can help pay for a funeral.

Free food, meals, and USDA programs

Food, meals, nutrition advice, and similar info is available. The New York Office of Aging runs a number of food assistance programs that may be able to help elders maintain nutritious diets. In addition to the food and meals, seniors will be given the opportunity to provide for socialization and get referral to other services and/or financial assistance programs.





Free or low cost Congregate Meals are offered in over 1000 locations across New York. This program can provide nutritious meals in a congregate setting for seniors that are 60 years of age or older. Services include nutrition counseling, transportation, and education. Meals are served in towns and cities across New York State, and can be distributed from senior centers, town halls, community action agencies, senior clubs, churches, senior housing complexes, and other facilities. Call the office for the aging in your area.

Disabled, homebound individuals who are 60 years of age or older and other qualified individuals may be able to receive meals delivered right to their home. An interview and assessment will need to occur, and based on client assessments, older persons and senior citizens in New York may receive a wide variety of free meals and other services.

Cash aid can be used to pay for food in New York. This will tend to be for very low income seniors or those on a pension. It is also time limited. Find how to apply for public assistance in New York from Agency offices

Seniors can also apply for government Food Stamps. It is a federal government sponsored program that helps persons with low incomes buy meals or food to help them stay healthy. Instead of coupons or vouchers, recipients now receive a debit card for purchases to be made at their local store. Apply at your local social service office or your local office for the aging. Residents of NYC can dial 1-718-557-1399. Or find more information from Agency on Aging offices on the SNAP food stamp program.

New York Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program distributes coupons or vouchers that elderly can use to buy food at a local farmers market. This particular program encourages seniors and disabled to consume fresh fruits and vegetables. Coupons are offered on a first come, first served basis, and the program starts in July and runs until November.

Employment, legal aid, and social services from New York Agency on Aging

Transportation to Appointments may be offered in some communities. Some, but not all, New York local offices for the aging and senior centers provide transportation to food pantries, doctor appointments, meal and nutrition sites, shopping or other vital destinations.

Older American Community Service Employment Program may be able to help someone over 55 years old get a job. This federal government funded program promotes part-time jobs from community service assignments. This may be an option for residents who are at least 55 years of age, low income, and who are actively seeking employment. The goal is to have the part time jobs turn into full time positions with benefits. Services provided from the employment program can include up to 1,300 hours per year of part time community service assignments, related educational opportunities, job training and opportunities for placement in full time, unsubsidized jobs.





Seniors often want less challenging and more flexible work. There are ways to make money working at home in New York, using websites, smart phone apps, and other simple to use technology. Agency on Aging Offices and Senior Centers can be places to learn about these opportunities. Even find options such as using car to make money, survey sites and so much more.

Legal aid and assistance can be provided to elders aged 60+. These individuals may access New York State's legal system by calling or stopping by their local office for the aging. Most of the offices across the state provide free or low cost counseling and assistance through lawyers, attorneys, and other legal service providers.

Each office that participates in the program identifies a range of legal issues and services that are of concern to senior citizens and elders in their service area. The state, many volunteers, and other legal professionals are working to increase access to affordable, yet high quality, legal assistance. The office of aging tries to establish and maintain close working relationships with the government funding Legal Services Corporation serving local bar associations and residents in the general area.

One of the benefits to legal aid is that senior citizens in New York can get free advice, no matter their income. This makes it easy for them to get questions answered on topics such as creating wills, applying for Medicare or cash grants, and much more. Locate free legal services in New York.

Consumer issues, frauds and scams can oftentimes be targeted at elders. Many government studies show that about 85 percent of the victims of telemarketing fraud are age 65+. Scams that are tried include, but are not limited to: investments; home repair; foreign lottery or sweepstakes solicitations; and charities fraud. The state of New York and the offices of aging can help seniors deal with frauds and scams.

Medications, prescription drugs and free medical services for elderly in New York

Free or low cost medication may be provided by Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC). This program is offered by the New York State Department of Health. Many seniors and elders can get help in coping with prescription drug costs. EPIC covers those older residents who do not have adequate health or medical insurance coverage for prescription drugs and who are not eligible for federal government or NYS Medicaid. Another thing to keep in mind is that EPIC is being coordinated with Medicare prescription coverage. Dial 1-800-332-3742 to reach the helpline.







Health insurance and government aid – A resource known as Health Insurance Information, Counseling & Assistance Program is run from each town and county and their offices for the aging. Counselors at each location can answer New Yorkers' questions about Medicare Advantage programs (managed care), Medigap, Medicare, prescription drug coverage from Medicare, and other health and long term care insurance. All counseling and information is free, and dial 1-800-701-0501 for details.

Local Aging Offices in New York

There are local centers that focus strictly on residents of that town or county. They include the following.

Onondaga County

If a county is not listed, or for more information, call the New York Office of Aging at 1(800)342-9871.

By Jon McNamara

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