Benefits and Programs for Elderly New Yorkers, Pt. 1

As an elderly resident of New York state, age sixty years or older, you have access to many programs, benefits, and community services that you might not be aware of. Different benefits throughout the state have varying requirements regarding age, finances, and other rules regarding eligibility. This article, and the local chapter of the state’s Office for Aging, is here to provide you with the information that you need to take advantage of the services that are available in the state for you.

It is important to remember that when discussing these programs, the term “resources” refers to the assets or property that you own. This includes cash, bank accounts, investments, and valuables but not a home, car, income-producing property, or personal property. In addition, “income” refers to earned and unearned income for work performed, social security benefits, pensions, retirement account withdrawals, and valuable gifts.

Social Security

Social security is income for insured workers, spouses, former spouses, children, grandchildren, and surviving parents. You can become eligible at any age for Social Security benefits if you are a disabled worker or a spouse caring for a retired, disabled or deceased worker’s child or adult disabled child. At fifty, a worker’s surviving disabled spouse may apply, at sixty, a worker’s surviving spouse may apply, and at 62, a retired worker, retired spouse, and a worker’s surviving dependent parents may apply for the program.

In addition, divorced spouses can receive benefits if they were married for at least ten years. There is also no limit on resources or income for this benefit program, and beneficiaries who have reached retirement age but continue to work will still receive full benefits.


This Medicaid program helps seniors pay for certain health care costs. To apply, you must be 65 years old or older to avoid incurring penalties. You may apply before you are 65 years old without penalties if you are disabled and have been receiving Social Security disability payments for two years. The program is split into four parts (Part A – D) and certain resource and income limits apply to specific parts; however, there is no limit for overall application to the program.

There is no limit on resources or income for the basic Medicare program. However, for extra help an applicant must show that they have less than $13,440 in resources ($26,860 for a couple). In order to apply for a low income subsidy, an individual must make $1,396.25 per month maximum ($1,891.25 for a couple).


This program offers a full range of health care services and benefits, including many options that are not provided by Medicare. It includes home care, unlimited nursing home care, prescription drugs, dentistry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and more. You can apply at any age but must be disabled or blind if you are under the age of 65.

Resources are limited at $14,550 for an individual and $21,550 for a couple. Exceptions for resources include $1,500 for a burial, a home, and certain personal effects. The income limits for Medicaid are $808 per month for an individual and $1,192 for a couple. There are ways to spend down on resources and income in order to qualify for Medicaid, but you should speak to an elder law attorney about your options.

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