Page Reviewed / Updated - April 2019
New York's Community Services for the Elderly (CSE) program is a state-funded program for New Yorkers 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. Thereby benefiting both 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 64,000 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.
Age and Residency
Beneficiaries must be at least 60 years old and legal New York residents. Duration of residency is not a factor. However, because a wait list for services can exist, new state residents may find themselves less likely to immediately receive assistance under this program when compared with long term New Yorkers.
At a minimum, program participants must require the assistance for which they have been assessed as needing. However, a need for assistance does not guarantee the availability of services.
Candidates’ income and financial assets are not considered for program eligibility, but they are factored into what one is required to pay as their "cost share". Effectively, for 2019, single applicants who have a monthly income over $1,561 ($18,732 / annually) and couples who have a monthly income over $2,114 ($25,368 / annually) may have a cost share. An individual’s cost share can be as low as 5% and as high as 100%.
Case managers at the local AAA level identify the services that are available to eligible seniors. 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:
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.