NEW YORK STATE OFFICE FOR THE AGING (NYSOFA)
Our State Office for the Aging has been at the forefront of special programs for New York’s seniors.
On the Web
NYSOFA hosts a number of Web sites designed to help New York’s elders and their families access information that is important to their independence. Find them on the Internet at www.aging.state.ny.us.
NYSOFA’s toll-free Senior Citizens’ Hot Line: 1-800-342-9871 - has operators working from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Health Care Consumer Information & License Verification Service
Consumer information on each of the professions and a license verification service is available on the Web at www.op.nysed.gov or by calling the Office of the Professions at 1-518-474-3817 (TDD/TTY: 1-518-473-1426).
Health Care Proxy
The New York health care proxy law allows people of all ages to designate an agent to make health care decisions on their behalf if they can no longer do so. Forms are available at local offices for the aging or call the Senior Citizens’ Hot Line at 1-800-342-9871.
Hospital Patients Rights
Upon admission to the hospital, a patient should receive a copy of the Hospital Patients’ Bill of Rights. This booklet is designed to help you understand what rights you have during your hospitalization regarding treatment and care.
Health Insurance Balanced Billing
In New York State, a physician who doesn’t accept Medicare assignment cannot charge more than 5 percent above the Medicare-approved amount for covered services (this limit does not apply to home or office visits). For more information on this law, contact the Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP) Hot Line at 1-800-333-4114.
Real Property Tax Credit
The “Circuit Breaker,” New York State’s income tax credit program for eligible homeowners and renters, helps elderly and moderate-income homeowners and renters who pay a disproportionate amount of property taxes in relation to their household incomes. To inquire about this program and to find out if you are eligible, contact your County Office for the Aging.
School Tax Relief (STAR)
Eligible homeowners can receive a significant exemption on the taxable value of their homes, resulting in considerable school property tax savings. Ask your local assessor about STAR and Enhanced STAR or visit www.orps.state.ny.us/star/.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
This program provides cash to help pay heating bills for low-income individuals and families. It is administered by local offices for the aging for people age 60 and over. You can begin applying for a HEAP grant in November each year. HEAP provides grants on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds provided for each heating season run out. For more information, contact your County Office for the Aging.
Access to Home
The Division of Housing and Community Development provides grants that help keep seniors and those with disabilities in their homes by making modifications that will make it easier for them to access as well as move around their homes.
Personal Identification Card
For elders who no longer drive, or have never driven, a non-driver photo identification card may be purchased from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Some local offices for the aging may also provide identification cards. Call your County Office for the Aging to ask if they have such a program.
Veterans are eligible to receive medical care through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, which maintains a network of medical facilities and community clinics across New York State. Long-term health care is offered to wartime veterans and certain eligible spouses at New York State Veterans Homes.
Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC)
Administered by the New York State Department of Health, EPIC helps many elders cope with prescription drug costs. EPIC will work in conjunction with Medicare prescription coverage. For more information, call the EPIC Help Line at 1-800-332-3742.
Health Insurance Information, Counseling & Assistance Program (HIICAP)
Over 400 trained HIICAP counselors answer older New Yorkers’ questions about Medicare, Medicare Advantage programs (managed care), Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medigap and other health and long-term care insurance in local offices for the aging across the state. Counseling is also available through a toll-free HIICAP Hot Line at 1-800-333-4114. Call for an appointment to meet with a counselor. HIICAP information is also available on the Internet at
Medicare provides health insurance for persons 65 and over, certain disabled persons and those in final stages of renal (kidney) disease. The Social Security Administration takes applications for Medicare and provides information (apply 3 months before your 65th birthday to avoid penalty). For information, call the Medicare Hot Line at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY-TTD 1-877-486-2048.
Elders aged 60 and over may access the state’s legal system by contacting their local office for the aging. Local offices provide counseling and assistance through legal service providers. Each office identifies services and legal issues that are of concern to elders in their service area, working to increase access to legal assistance.
Consumer fraud schemes are most often targeted at elders. Elders targeted by fraud should contact the New York State Attorney General’s consumer hot line at
1-800-771-7755 and also your county’s district attorney, who will prosecute offenders.
Property Tax Exemption
Veterans may be eligible for a reduction in their real property tax. Your local assessor can assist in determining if you are eligible for such an exemption. For more information about these and other veterans benefits, contact your local veteran’s representative or call toll-free, 1-888-VETS NYS (1-888-838-7697).
Your Local Veterans Office
I Supported the Following Measures:
- Providing lower co-payments for covered drugs for certain participants in the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program;
- Increasing the STAR rebate for senior citizens;
- Providing localities with the option to offer seniors the choice of two previous income years instead of one to determine real property tax exemption eligibility;
- Providing free certification of births to persons age sixty-two years and older;
- Establishing the silver alert system to track missing elder persons suffering from Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairment; and
- Establishing the New York State Lifespan Respite Care Program in the Office for the Aging for purposes of fostering development of community respite care programs.