Presenting to a state legislative panel in February, NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen testified on provisions of the Governor's proposed budget that directly affect NYSOFA programs and services, along with additional budget proposals that will positively impact older New Yorkers and their families.
Olsen described the state's multi-agency, coordinated effort to develop a Master Plan for Aging, improve health, combat social isolation, support informal and working caregivers, strengthen preventive health strategies, address disparities, expand services access for LGBTQ+ older adults, and more.
Highlights of the Governor's budget include:
- Maintaining funding for vital services such as Community Services for the Elderly (CSE), elder abuse prevention, and Holocaust survivors funding.
- Increasing funding for the Master Plan for Aging.
- Continuing $23 million in historic investments for older New Yorkers across the state who are awaiting services.
- Continuing the state's $2.9 million investment to expand efforts to combat isolation, bridge the digital divide, address elder abuse, and strengthen NYSOFA’s stipend program for volunteer recruitment and retention.
- Continuing a bill-payer service program in 10 counties to prevent and mitigate financial exploitation of older adults.
- Continued improvements to NY Connects, further increasing access to long term care services and supports.
- Maintaining $500,000 that is used to draw down more than $2 million in federal funds to combat elder abuse and financial exploitation of older adults.
- Increasing funding for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, which serves as an advocate for residents and their families in nursing homes and other facilities.
- A 2.5 percent human services COLA for providers.
Continued Support for NYSOFA Innovations
The Governor’s budget provides the support necessary to continue many NYSOFA innovations launched in recent years, including:
- NYSOFA's award-winning animatronic pet project.
- Statewide access to the GetSetUp platform, which offers more than 900 lifelong learning and health and wellness classes.
- The Virtual Senior Center to bring senior center programming into the homes of older adults.
- ElliQ, a proactive AI tool to combat isolation and loneliness, improve connectivity to others, and support overall health and wellness.
- GoGoGrandparent, a specialized ride-sharing project to increase transportation options.
- The evidence-based caregiver support platform, Trualta, which is available to any New Yorker who is providing uncompensated care to a loved one.
Private Pay Expansion
The proposed Executive State Budget also increases eligibility for those older adults who wish to use services via private pay.
Legislation passed in 2019 allowed individuals and families to purchase services directly from their Area Agency on Aging (AAA) when their income was above 400% of the federal poverty level.
The Governor's budget proposes expanded access to the program, making the private-pay option available to individuals with incomes between 250% and 400% of the federal poverty level for those counties that choose to participate.
To learn more about the Governor's proposal, please see Director Olsen's complete testimony.
The Executive State Budget, presented in late January, begins a process of discussions with the State Legislature on a final budget due by April 1.