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What Benefits Can Seniors Qualify for in New York?

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What Benefits Can Seniors Qualify for in New York?

If you’re over 60 and residing in New York, you might have heard about Social Security and Medicare. But what about other programs, like home energy and rent subsidies? You should be getting these benefits as well too.

The State of New York provides several programs for seniors to help them cope with their aging needs. If you aren’t sure how these programs provide benefits, you can get information about these compensations by visiting the Office for Aging. The government deploys this office across all counties of New York, except New York City. If you’re unable to locate one of them in your county, contact the State Office for Aging at (800) 342-9871.

Before applying to benefit programs, you need to understand the general eligibility rules using the following guideline:

Resources. A seniors’ property, asset, and valuables classify as resources. Several resources affect seniors’ eligibility, like bank accounts, cash, investments, and valuables.

Income. Seniors need to look for programs that have deductions to make them eligible. Assistance programs sometimes rely on seniors’ earned and unearned income.

Furthermore, here are some of the major benefit programs that seniors need to take advantage of today:

Social Security

Seniors may apply for full Social Security benefits starting at age 50. It provides income for insured workers and spouses. At age 60, surviving spouses may apply for their deceased spouse’s benefits if he/she is working and eligible for benefits. At age 62, the divorced spouse can receive benefits if married for ten years.

Resources: No limit.

Income: No limit.


Medicare values seniors’ health by helping them pay certain healthcare expenses. To avoid penalties, seniors need to apply three months before their 65th birthday to become eligible. Meanwhile, disabled individuals under age 65 can qualify for Medicare programs. But, they need to receive Social Security disability benefits for two years to be eligible for Medicare. Nevertheless, Medicare provides special rules for seniors suffering from different conditions.

Resources: No limit.

Income: No limit.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

In addition to Social Security and Medicare programs, the government offers monthly cash payments for senior citizens. To qualify, they need to apply for other cash benefits that they can get. Not only seniors can qualify in this program, but also, people who have worked long enough can benefit from retirement benefits as well as SSI.

Resources: Less than $2,000 for single or less than $3,000 if married. Plus a burial fund of $1,500 individually.

Income: The more income a senior has, the lower the SSI payment.

Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) Program

The Department of Health administers the EPIC program, a New York State program that helps seniors aged 65 and above when it comes to paying their Medicare Part D drug plan expenses. To receive EPIC benefits, seniors need to be eligible or enrolled in a Medicare Part D drug plan first at any time of the year. It provides two plans based on seniors’ income, like the Fee Plan and Deductible Plan. No documentation is required to apply to this program.

Resources: No limit.

Income: Annual income below $75,000 for single individuals while $100,000 for married couples, both including Social Security.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture governs the New York State SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program. This assistance issues monthly electronic benefits to seniors who qualified in SNAP. To be eligible, seniors must be a resident of the New York State. This program helps elders buy more food without spending too much money. The SNAP program declares monthly allowance to seniors that they can use as cash at accredited stores in their county.

Resources: No limit.

Income: Annual income of $16,237 for a single household and $21,983 for married couples. For larger households, add $5,746 per additional person.

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

Vulnerable seniors become more prone to diseases during the winter season. To cover their home energy needs, seniors can apply to New York State’s Home Energy Assistance Program that caters to their necessities. To become eligible, 60-year-old seniors must be residing in the United States and should be receiving both SNAP and SSI benefits. HEAP offers cash assistance so that seniors could pay for their needs, such as fuel and utilities. It also provides assistance in the form of cash or credit for heating costs for seniors with low-income. Seniors don’t need to worry about paying these resources, as the City pays these either utility companies or to the household directly.

Resources: No limit.

Income: Less than $3,000 for a member age 60 and above.

Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE)

Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program exempts low-income senior renters from all types of rent increase. When home renters increase their monthly rent, seniors with SCRIE don’t have to pay for the higher rent. Instead, the city pays the home renter the difference between the current and future rent of seniors aged 62 or older. Seniors spending more than one-third of their monthly income on rent, residing in New York City, and having an annual income of $50,000 or less than a year are qualified to apply in SCRIE.

Resources: No limit.

Income: Annual income of $50,0000 or less.

Real Property Tax Credit (IT 214)

This type of program provides cash payment or tax credit for seniors as part of their property taxes paid during the previous year. Seniors are entitled to a refundable credit if they have a household gross income of $18,000 or less. Once eligible, seniors get to enjoy a minimum of $75 if all household members are under 65, while $375 credit if at least one household member is 65 or older.

Resources: No limit.

Income: $18,000 or less.

Reduced Fare on Public Transportation

The New York State offers discounts to seniors aged 65 and above in terms of public and private transportation services, such as MTA subway, bus, and railways. To become eligible, seniors need to submit their copies of Medicare card, NYC Department of the Aging card, MTA Reduced-Fare ID card, and Access-A-Ride ID to MTA New York City Transit. Once qualified, seniors enjoy half the base fare in transit services.

Resources: No limit.

Income: No limit.

Lifeline Discounted Telephone Service

The New York State’s Lifeline Discounted Telephone Service program allows eligible seniors to save money on their phone bills. Partnering with telephone providers makes this program possible for the elders to stay connected and save money on their monthly telephone bills, either landline or wireless service. Seniors benefit from free minutes and reduced rates of phone bills.

Resources: No limit.

Income: Must be below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

These are some of the beneficial programs New Yorkers aged 60 and above can take advantage of. Be sure to check each program’s website to accommodate your needs when applying personally or online.

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In the wake of the Corona Virus outbreak, we have closed our center to the seniors of our community to protect them from this dangerous virus. However we have now created a dedicated Facebook group for seniors in Brooklyn and are preparing digital events so that you can stay connected with your community!

Even though to stay safe we should practice social isolation, it does not mean we have to do it alone!
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