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Hochul issues proclamation designating May as Older Americans Month


Mon, May 8th 2023 09:35 am

Announces expansion in income limits for Medicare beneficiaries to be eligible for Medicare savings program

√ State to develop comprehensive master plan for aging, building on New York's status as first age-friendly state, as designated by AARP

√ Read the proclamation here

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently issued a proclamation designating May as Older Americans Month in New York, and recognizing “the incredible volunteerism of New York's older adults who commit more than 495 million hours of community service each year at an economic value of $13.8 billion.”

She said, "Older Americans Month is a time to celebrate the incredible contributions that older New Yorkers make to our state's social and economic environment. We honor New York's older adults for their contributions, and further our commitment to continue providing for older adults as they age – helping them maintain independence and a good quality of life."

A press release stated, “New York ranks fourth in the nation in the number of individuals aged 60 and over, at 4.6 million. By 2030, this population is expected to reach 5.3 million. According to the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), there are 935,000 individuals aged 60 and over in New York state who contribute 495 million hours of community service at an economic value of $13.8 billion. Sixty-four percent of individuals aged 60 and older own their own homes and have no mortgage, contributing directly to the local tax base, supporting schools, local businesses, and the not-for-profit infrastructure. Individuals aged 50 and over account for the most volunteering, philanthropy, entrepreneurs and donation activities in the U.S. out of any demographic group.”

New York's aging services programs are principally delivered through NYSOFA and its partnership with 59 area agencies on aging (AAAs) and almost 1,200 community organizations. This network serves over 1.3 million older adults and their families annually with more than 20 core services and additional community-based supports, including personal care, transportation, legal services, counseling, case management, senior center programming, respite, elder-abuse prevention, benefits assistance, and nutrition services such as home-delivered meals, congregate meals or other nutrition supports.

Acting Director Greg Olsen said, "NYSOFA applauds Gov. Hochul's leadership in recognizing the value of older adults and understanding that aging is a lifelong process. Our aim is to foster an overall community environment throughout New York state, as well as a service and support structure, which provides opportunities for all generations of New Yorkers."

Acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, "The department celebrates older Americans and the invaluable contributions they make every day – and have made throughout their lives – to the state of New York. To ensure we provide critical assistance as New Yorkers age, our master plan for aging will include policies and programs that ensure the needs of older New Yorkers, who may require long term care services and supports, are recognized and met. Gov. Hochul has consistently demonstrated visionary leadership in embracing this important initiative to improve quality and access to vital aging programs and supports."

The governor also announced several initiatives underway to support older adults and individuals across the lifespan:

√ The state's master plan for aging (MPA) is bringing together the collective expertise of 20 state agencies that comprise the MPA council, as well as a stakeholder advisory committee of leading experts and a public input process to develop the MPA. A group of MPA subcommittees has begun meeting to identify and further develop existing age-friendly initiatives and draft new initiatives for consideration. Hochul’s team said, “Each subcommittee of experts is dedicated to a specific focus area, including economic security, formal and informal caregiving, health and wellness, home and community-based services, housing, and long-term services and supports. Their recommendations will inform a preliminary MPA advisory report this summer. A draft final MPA report is expected in early 2024.”

√ NYSOFA is developing its four-year plan to the federal government, which outlines how NYSOFA and its network will address federal priorities for older adults in several focus areas. NYSOFA is planning a series of public engagement sessions throughout the state on the four-year plan. At those sessions, NYSOFA will also be sharing the results of a statewide comprehensive community assessment survey that has yielded over 20,000 responses from older adults about community needs and priorities for successful aging.

√ New York state has expanded income limits for Medicare beneficiaries to be eligible for the Medicare savings program (MSP). The 2023 income eligibility limits are $2,280 for an individual and $3,077 for a couple. The MSP helps older adults and people with disabilities living on limited incomes by paying their Medicare Part B premiums, and automatically enrolls them in extra help.

A press release stated, “This financial assistance can be a lifeline for enrollees, allowing them to maintain their Medicare coverage, access needed care, and afford other necessities. The newly expanded program is estimated to save beneficiaries an average of up to $7,000 annually. An application is available on the New York State Department of Health website here.”

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