Assistance is Available for Struggling Seniors

Seniors face many issues relating to housing, hunger, income, abuse and isolation. In the State of New York, The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is accountable for developing and overseeing programs that provide aid and support those that are eligible and need assistance. The programs mentioned below compliment the primary government benefits programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and people with special needs.

  • Energy Assistance: The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally-funded program to assist people with low incomes with their energy expenses, including heating bills and some energy-related home repairs (HEAP can help those who are meet eligibility requirements pay for any of the following: electricity, propane, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene, coal or any other heating fuel). In order to qualify for HEAP in New York State, you must need help with your energy bills and meet an income requirement.  A single person must have an annual income of less than $24,360.  Applications can be made at any social services office. To locate a social services office in your area, click here.
  • Housing Assistance: The Bureau of Housing and Support Services (BHSS) concentrate solely on the problems revolving around the homeless, at-risk, and low-income households in New York State. The Homeless Housing and Assistance program supplies capital grants and loans to not-for-profit corporations, charitable and religious organizations, municipalities and public corporations to acquire, construct or rehabilitate housing for persons who are homeless and are unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance.
  • Telephone Assistance: Low-income seniors may also qualify for assistance with their telephone bills.  The Lifeline program provides federal assistance for low-income older adults, for one telephone per household.  The program is available for landlines or cell phones, and you can apply directly through your telephone service provider. To be eligible, consumers must have an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in a qualifying state, Federal or Tribal assistance program.
  • Food Assistance: The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) provides an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used just like a debit card to purchase groceries at participating supermarkets and other retail food stores.  The program is available to people with low incomes, particularly seniors, and you can apply in person at your local social services office, or online at To find out if you are eligible for SNAP, click here.

To read a full list of supplemental benefit programs offered by the State of New York, visit: For more information about our elder law services, visit

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