Community Services for the Elderly from the New York State Office for the Aging

Program Description

New York's Community Services for the Elderly (CSE) program is a legislatively enacted program offering funding to provide services for elderly New York residents. This program allows seniors who wish to continue living in their homes, but who require assistance and support services to safely do so.

Program participants receive a variety of different supports and non-medical care specifically selected to meet their needs. Typically this includes personal care at home and / or in adult day care, transportation assistance, and meals delivered to the home. Services are intended to "reduce reliance on institutional care" or worded differently, the program strives to prevent the unnecessary placement of elderly residents in Medicaid funding nursing homes. This benefits both the program participants through an improved quality of life and the state from a budgetary perspective.

Services are provided through New York's network of 59 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). The AAAs sub-contract out services to approximately 1,500 different local providers and serve more than 60,000 elderly New Yorkers. In most areas of the state, the AAA is a local county office, but in some cases, several counties are grouped together under a single AAA. One can find their local NY AAA here.

This program should not be confused with the similarly named Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which is an entirely different program that helps seniors in finding employment. 


Eligibility Guidelines

Program participants are expected to be frail, low-income, and elderly New York State or city residents. However, hard definitions as to these criteria are made at the local (Area Agency on Aging) level and are not published.

Having said that, applicants must be at least 60 years old. Their income and financial assets are not considered for program eligibility, but they are factored into what the applicant is required to pay as their "cost share". Effectively, for 2017, single applicants who have a monthly income over $1,485 ($17,820 / annually) and couples who have a monthly income over $2,003 ($24,036 / annually) may have a cost share. An individuals cost share can be as low as 5% and as high as 100%.


Benefits and Services

The services that are available to eligible seniors are identified by case managers at the local AAA level. Benefits vary among the municipalities based on need and budget. Some persons may be required to pay a share of cost. Services traditionally include, but are not limited in scope to:

-Adult Day Care
-Case Management
-Home Delivered Meals / Congregate Meals
-Minor Residential Repairs
-Personal Care (Assistance with grooming, bathing, dressing, etc.)
-Home Health Aide
-Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
-Respite Care
-Transportation Assistance
-Nutrition Education / Counseling


How to Apply / Learn More

To apply for assistance from the Community Services for the Elderly Program, one should contact their local NY Area Agency on Aging.  Be aware that waiting lists for services may exist. If so, they are maintained at the Area Agency on Aging level and one cannot receive assistance from AAAs outside of the county in which they reside. 

For additional program information, click here.

New York residents should also investigate Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities