Benefits for Seniors in NYC
If you’re a senior living in NYC, you might want to know about all the different benefits that you are entitled to.
We’ll discuss what the programs are, what benefits they offer, the eligibility requirements, and how to apply for them.
What age is a senior citizen in NYC?
If you're an NYC resident age 65 or above, you’re considered to be a senior citizen, and you can be eligible to access the various benefits listed below.
Benefits of being a senior citizen in NYC
Here’s a list of all the benefits available to you as a senior living in NYC, including from the city, state, and federal governments.
Social Security Benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers benefits in the form of payments to qualified retirees and people living with disabilities.
Spouses, children, and survivors of eligible beneficiaries may also be eligible to receive payments in some cases.
Officially known as the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Program, social security payments are intended to partially replace the income of older adults and their spouses, for the disabled, and qualifying survivors.
Eligibility for social security benefits is based on age, disability, and work credits earned through employment history.
If you have adequate work credits (you have paid into social security through your taxes), then you can qualify if you fall under any of the following:
- You’re age 62 or older
- You’re blind
- You have a disability
To find out if you have enough work credits or if you can qualify for benefits through a spouse, visit the social security entitlement requirements page.
Applying for Social Security in NYC
If you do qualify, you can apply by completing the following steps:
- Review the adult disability checklist to gather the necessary information for your application.
- Complete the disability benefits application.
- Complete the medical release form.
If you have any questions during the application process, you can contact the SSA.
Medicare is one of the most prominent federal programs that provide benefits to many seniors around the country, including in NYC.
Medicare is a health insurance program run by the federal government, and it pays for different health care expenses for beneficiaries, who are primarily above the age of 65.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), runs the Medicare program.
Besides age, there are also specifically approved health conditions that can make you eligible for Medicare.
You can find more information on the Medicare website about eligibility and enrollment rules.
There are four parts to Medicare.
- Medicare A - Covers inpatient services like hospital care, nursing facilities, some home health care, and more.
- Medicare B - Covers doctor’s visits, medical expenses, home care, medical equipment, and more.
- Medicare C - Offered by private insurance companies that combine all Medicare benefits into one comprehensive, convenient plan.
- Medicare D - Prescription drug coverage (if not covered under part B).
Applying for Medicare in NYC
For all the details on applying and eligibility for Medicare, visit the NYC Medicare page.
Here are some quick helpful resources:
NYC Dept. for the Aging - They will help you answer any questions, including eligibility, application, or which Medicare program is right for you. You can also call them directly at 212-244-6469. They also offer free monthly Medicare orientation sessions.
Call Medicare at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227), and say “Agent”. TTY: 877-486-2048.
CDPAP (Must be enrolled in Medicaid)
If you’re a senior living with a disability and need help with daily activities, then CDPAP might be beneficial for you.
CDPAP stands for Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program. It is a program funded by New York State Medicaid to provide care for those who are living with a health condition or disability and may need help with various daily living activities (bathing, grooming, dressing, hygiene, etc.).
One of the biggest benefits of CDPAP is that you can hire friends and family members as care providers. They provide you care and get paid through CDPAP (funded by Medicaid).
To be eligible to hire friends/family members as caregivers through CDPAP, you must meet the following requirements.
- NY state resident
- Must be eligible for/enrolled in NY Medicaid
- Have a long term disability that makes you need assistance with various daily tasks
- You must be self-directing, as in you can hire and direct care providers on your care needs
For all the details on eligibility, who you can hire, and a lot more, check out our “getting started with CDPAP” page.
Applying for CDPAP
Before you can apply for CDPAP, make sure you’re eligible and enrolled in NY Medicaid.
Then you can follow the steps in our guide on how to apply for CDPAP.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a program geared towards senior citizens, as well as others like low-income workers and the disabled. SNAP provides benefits that can be used to purchase food.
What you can purchase with SNAP:
- Meat and fish
- Seeds and plants that will produce food
You can’t buy things like alcohol, hot food, delivery, or pet food, with SNAP.
Eligibility is based on total income per household, depending on how many people live in your home. You can check out the detailed requirements on the NY state SNAP page.
Apply for SNAP in NYC
Apply online for SNAP here.
Senior Citizen Homeowners Exemption (SCHE)
As a senior citizen property owner in NYC, you can get a reduction in your property taxes for your one, two, or three-family homes, condos, or co-op apartments, under the Senior Citizen Homeowners Exemption (SCHE) program.
You must have an annual income of $58,399 or less to qualify. Your reduction can range between 5-50 percent depending on your income.
There are residency, ownership, and age requirements you must meet beyond the income criteria.
For all the details, visit NYC’s SCHE page.
You can also download the SCHE brochure.
Apply for SCHE
Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE)
SCRIE provides a rent freeze for eligible senior citizens in NYC.
As a qualified senior, if your rent goes up, you don’t have to pay any more than your current rent. The city pays the landlord the difference after the increase.
To qualify, you must be age 62 or older, have your name on the lease, and make less than $50,000 per year.
For detailed eligibility requirements, visit NYC’s SCRIE page.
Apply for SCRIE
Apply for SCRIE (includes instructions)
Reduced Fare on public transportation
If you’re age 65 or older (or have a qualifying disability), you can take advantage of reduced fares through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
How to Apply
To sign up, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Driver’s license or state ID from any state (must be valid)
- NYC Dept. of Aging ID
- Medicare card
- Valid passport (any country)
Here are some of the resources to help you apply.
For instructions on what documents to include, where to mail the application, or how to apply in person, visit the MTA.
Real Property Tax Credit
Local governments in the state of New York can choose to reduce the tax on real property (land and buildings) owned by qualified senior citizens.
Cities like NYC can reduce the tax burden on some seniors by reducing the assessment of your property by as much as 50%.
For all the details on the different exceptions, eligibility requirements, and more, visit the New York State partial tax exemption page
How to Apply
For advice and instructions, you should consult your accountant that handles your property taxes.
Home Energy Assistance Program
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps certain residents of NYC meet their energy requirements during winter.
The benefits can pay for utilities, fuel sources, and also for necessary equipment repairs/maintenance.
The city can pay the bill to the company directly, or send you the money, depending on the type of costs.
To qualify, you must have a child under six, an adult over 60, or a disabled person living in your household.
You must also meet income requirements and be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. For more information, including detailed income requirements, visit Access NYC HEAP page.
How to Apply for HEAP
Send application to:
Home Energy Assistance Program/HEAP
P.O. Box 1401
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10008
Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC)
The Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program is run by the New York Dept. of Health.
If you have Medicare Part D, which is supplementary coverage for prescription drugs for seniors, then EPIC will help you meet any out-of-pocket expenses for the Medicare Part D drug costs.
If you’re enrolled in Medicare Part D, then you can apply for EPIC at any time.
You must be 65 years or older, not receiving full Medicaid benefits, and make less than $75,000 per year ($100,000 total household income if married).
For full details, visit the EPIC website.
How to Apply
For instructions, and the application form, visit the EPIC application page.
New York State School Tax Relief Program (STAR)
The School Tax Relief (STAR) program in New York offers property tax relief to eligible homeowners.
There are different levels of STAR, and they come with their own set of eligibility requirements. As a senior, you may qualify for enhanced STAR, which may qualify you for greater benefits.
For detailed eligibility requirements, be sure to visit the STAR eligibility page.
If you qualify and enroll in STAR, then you’ll receive benefits in one of the two following ways:
STAR credit - You get a check in the mail each year for your STAR credit, which you can use to pay for your school taxes.
STAR exemption - If you’ve been enrolled in STAR since 2015, you’ll continue to get the same benefits, but you’ll see it as an exemption in your school tax bill instead of getting a check in the mail.
How to Apply for STAR
For detailed instructions, and the links to get the process started, visit the STAR registration page.
Living in NYC as a senior, you have access to various benefits and programs from the city, state, and federal governments.
Take some time today to go through the eligibility requirements of the various programs listed in this article.
Make a note of the ones you qualify for, and then get the application process started for each. Before you know it, you can be saving a significant amount of money each month on food, medical expenses, property taxes, rent, and more.