Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Aging Committee Chair Donna Lupardo today announced that the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2018-19 budget agreement includes important investments for programs to support New York's seniors.
"As New Yorkers live longer than ever before, it is important that we continue making investments in programs that will allow them to prepare for the future and support them as they age," said Speaker Heastie. "The Assembly Majority understands that seniors are integral parts of our communities. I'm glad we could come together and craft a budget that ensures older New Yorkers will have the resources they need to continue living independently and with dignity."
"Given our state's large aging population, it's important that we make investments to help seniors age well," said Assemblymember Lupardo. "I am pleased we could come together to provide funding for programs and services older New Yorkers rely on. We'll continue raising awareness about the need to help seniors stay in their homes for as long as possible."
The spending plan invests $2 million in Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) and Neighborhood NORC. It will also allow the Office for the Aging to expend last year's $2 million Mortgage Insurance Fund (MIF) allocation, which brings total additional funding for the programs to $4 million. NORCs and Neighborhood NORCs provide services to help participants, including healthcare management planning, case assistance, benefit application assistance, linking residents with in-home and prevention services, healthcare screenings and other services.
The budget funds a number of programs that provide important resources for seniors, including $31.2 million for the Community Services for the Elderly program which supports personal care, home delivered meals, transportation, senior centers and other important services; $100,000 for the Statewide Senior Action Council Patients' Rights Hotline; $86,000 for the Foundation for Senior Citizens Home Sharing and Respite Program; and $250,000 for the Older Adult Technology Center.
The budget provides $20 million in capital funding to support the establishment of 1,000 new assisted living program beds in underserved areas. It also includes $7.8 million to maintain the right of spousal refusal. The spending plan will establish the New York State Secure Choice Savings retirement program for private-sector employees. The program, administered by a seven member program board and chaired by the Commissioner of Taxation and Finance, will allow New Yorkers to better prepare and save for retirement.
"Secure Choice will offer hard working men and women across New York an easy way to save for their futures through effective payroll deduction. And it's a great tool for small companies to attract and retain quality workers. AARP thanks Speaker Heastie, Assemblymember Rodriguez and the Assembly for ensuring Secure Choice's inclusion in the final state budget to close the growing retirement savings gap," said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel.