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

Page Reviewed / Updated - November 05, 2020

Program Description

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 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 125,000 elderly New Yorkers each year. 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

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.

Functional Ability
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.

Financial Criteria
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 2020, single applicants who have a monthly income over $1,595 ($19,140 / annually) and couples who have a monthly income over $2,155 ($25,860 / annually) may have a cost share. An individual’s cost share can be as low as 5% and as high as 100%.

Benefits and Services

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:

  • Adult Day Care
  • Case Management
  • Companionship Visits
  • 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
  • Telephone Reassurance
  • 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. A downloadable brochure is available here.

New York residents should also investigate Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities