For New Yorkers over 60-years old, state and federal programs provide numerous benefits and community services to help cope with some of the hardships associated with aging. Every county in New York, with the exception of New York City, has a an Office for Aging aimed at helping seniors get vital information on these and other programs. Some of these programs, like Social Security and Medicare, are already well known to most people but others involving tax credits and rent subsidies may be less known and therefore less likely to be applied for.
Elders applying for various benefits should know each program has its own requirements and qualifications applicants will need to refer too. Furthermore, some federal programs may require seniors to “spend down” some of their assets to meet wealth qualifications. Because some federal programs have “look back” periods that can end up imposing penalties on the applicant, seniors are strongly encouraged to consult with an experienced elder law attorney about their situation.
Depending on the year of your birth, seniors can apply for full Social Security benefits starting at age 65 or 67. Surviving spouses may apply for their deceased spouse’s benefits at age 60 if the deceased was working and qualified for benefits.
Seniors 65-years or older qualifying for Social Security are also eligible for Medicare benefits. The program does more than provide affordable health care and prescription drugs for elders. Under Medicare, seniors can also receive money for nursing home care and in home nurse care.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Once commonly known as “food stamps,” the program provides financial support for, among other individuals, households with an elder or disabled family member. Income cannot exceed $1,915 for a household of one or $2,585 for a household of two.
SENIOR CITIZEN RENT INCREASE EXEMPTION (SCRIE)
Exempts rent-controlled/rent stabilized, Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) housing and rent-regulated hotel tenants from certain rent increases. Seniors 62-years or older with a yearly income of $29,000 or less can qualify.
SENIOR CITIZEN HOMEOWNERS EXEMPTION (SCHE)
Provides a partial tax exemption up to 50% on real property owned by qualified senior citizens. Seniors must be 65 or older by December 31st of that property tax year. In cases where property is co-owned by family members, all individuals must be at least 65-years or older.
Reduced Fare on public transportation
New York residents aged 65 or older can apply for various discounts on public and some private transportation lines. Applicants must submit copies of their Medicare card, NYC Department
of the Aging ID card, Access-A-Ride ID card, or MTA Reduced-Fare ID to the New York State
Office of Aging.