Onondaga County Aging Services.

The main programs available from Onondaga County Aging Services focus on the following. The non-profit works to prevent hunger in older adults, ensure they have access to free or affordable medical care, and they also arrange financial help where possible. These are the main services available, but much more can be provided from their Outreach Program.

Senior citizens, including those with a disability, can get help. Some of the assistance programs will target low income elderly households, while others are available to any senior in the Syracuse New York area. More information on their resources is available below.

Medical assistance from Aging Services

The primary goal of the CSE, or Community Services for the Elderly Program, is to prevent dependence on institutional care. It will coordinate everything from medical care to food deliveries and more. CSE will ensure that frail, low-income seniors or disabled people in the community are able to remain independent in their own homes.

Onondaga County Aging Services funds the program, administers aid, and if or when needed, subcontracts programs. Everything offered will keep older adults out of nursing homes or hospitals and other facilities. It provides other help as well. CSE will put them into contact with non-profit community resources. If needed, seniors can also find out about cost-effective, high quality non-medical services.




Onondaga County Aging Services helps low income seniors get the health care they need. There are programs such as prescription drug benefits that are now available to all Medicare recipients. The aid is issued under Medicare Part D, which covers generic or brand name medications that are dispensed through Syracuse area hospitals as well as participating pharmacies.

The purpose of this coverage is to make medications more affordable. The program will protect those with very high prescription costs or those who may be confronted with unexpected costs in the future. Onondaga County Aging Services case managers can go over the terms. But in general, prescription benefits as well as other help for medical bills is accessible when the individual first becomes eligible for Medicare (three months before the month of the applicant's 65th birthday until three months after that month).





There is also support for the disabled. Individuals with disabilities from across Onondaga County may join from three months before to three months after their 25th month of disability payments. Note that are some exceptions as well. One of them is the fact that Medicare Part D is not mandatory for residents with creditable prescription drug coverage through a labor union, military pension, retirement plan, or an employer.

The enrollment period is ongoing too. Anyone from Onondaga County New York who loses creditable coverage through no fault of his or her own has 60 days to enroll in a Part D plan. The government, including state and federal, will put penalties into place too. Anyone who lacks creditable drug coverage from another source and fails to sign up at first eligibility, may be assessed a penalty.

Extra help is provided by Onondaga County Aging Services. This assistance is for people with limited income (usually under $30,000 per year) or resources. Nearly one in three Medicare clients from Onondaga fit this category, and may be eligible for assistance with paying medical bills, doctor premiums, annual deductibles, and/or co-payments. Those who fit the following criteria listed above are encouraged to apply for extra help. The team at Aging Services will help them obtain medical care benefits that average around $2,100 per year. Even if more support is needed, then locate additional resources that offer medical bill help.

Onondaga County Aging Services food and financial aid

For inquires, contact the Information, Assistance, and Outreach Program. The non-profit has specialists that can direct seniors to a resource for their needs. They have information on everything from cash grants to housing, heating bill help, and more.

The service is known as the Neighborhood Advisor Program. It provides information to Onondaga County seniors in need of emergency financial help or social support services. Anyone that dials the service, or stops in, will meet with counselors. They clients with government benefits and public programs that appropriately meet their needs.

Onondaga County Aging Services outreach workers collaborate with various contacts throughout the community. They partner with churches, charities, and human service groups. This is done to help locate older people who are not receiving needed attention and care. Once discovered they will be linked with on-profit agencies and other programs that provide needed assistance and support. Assistance with the completing applications is also available.

Food is offered as part of the Senior Dining Program. This helps seniors of all income levels retain their independence by providing nutritious, tasty, freshly prepared meals.




The home-bound can use MOW - Meals on Wheels. The goal of this Agent on Aging program is to ensure that homebound seniors across Syracuse and Onondaga County avoid health issues and negative outcomes caused by poor nutrition.

Hundreds of volunteers prepare and deliver freshly made, nutritious meals directly to homebound senior citizens as well as the disabled who are incapacitated. All of the applicants to MOW need to be unable to prepare meals for themselves, shop, cook, or help themselves. There is also free food for people who require special diets. The program also links clients with additional services, based on a comprehensive, in-home needs assessment.

Partners make this program happen. Onondaga County Aging Services works with Kosher Meals on Wheels; Meals on Wheels of Syracuse; M-JD Area Meals on Wheels; North Area Meals on Wheels, and Jordan/Elbridge non-profits to provide this service. There is a small donation requested though. To help defray the cost of offering meals, MOW requests a voluntary contribution of a few dollars per day.

Onondaga County free Dining Sites are open. They service lunch, breakfast, or dinner in a friendly to seniors. All the meals are offered in a welcoming social setting. Other needs can also be met. There is small donation requested as well to help keep the program running.

Lunch is prepared by Onondaga County Aging Services and served by non-profit subcontractors each weekday, with dinner and breakfast also commonly served. While eating, senior citizens can take part in various informational and educational programming, health screening clinics, wellness support, counseling, and exercise programs.

The USDA funded Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program operates in Onondaga County. It offers the elderly the opportunity to enjoy locally grown fresh fruits, dairy items, and organic vegetables. The goal is to provide the client with many important health benefits. To be eligible for assistance, applicants must be 60 years of age or older and meet income guidelines. Note that each household in the county is limited to one coupon book each year.

Free Vouchers from the Onondaga County Aging Services Farmers Market Nutrition Program pays for coupon booklets. These are available those who qualify at various community locations in Syracuse and the county. They may also be redeemed at local farmers markets for fruits and vegetables grown in New York State. Or read more free coupons.

HOME - Housing Options and Management for the Elderly – This is rent and housing focused program. The agency assists seniors and their families with housing-related concerns, based on the results of needs assessments. There is information on everything from grants for paying rental costs to housing counseling and free advice.





The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is run by Onondaga County Aging Services. This federal program provides cash grants pay the costs of home-heating bills and utilities for low-income residents, including the elderly or disabled. HEAP subsidies pay for natural gas, oil, coal, electricity, propane, wood, or kerosene, even for households whose service is included in monthly rent payments. Applications for HEAP are distributed in the fall. The help is for adults aged 60 and older. The agency also certifies eligibility and benefits.

This program will help with costs during the winter. However there are many other resources for low income seniors in the community. Onondaga County Aging Services can direct residents to water as well as other electric bill programs. Find assistance paying utility bills.

Legal aid is arranged too. This is available in Onondaga County as part of the Older Americans Unit of Legal Services of CNY, Inc.. Low income seniors can get help with matters such as creating Wills, entitlement issues, consumer debt issues, assistance in solving disputes with utility companies, and setting up Health care proxies.

For more information on assistance, the Office for Aging is located at 421 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, New York 13202. Dial (315) 435-2362.

By Jon McNamara

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