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AARP NY: Hochul Seeks Cuts to Vital Services for Older NYers, Despite Knowing About Backlogs & Other Problems

Senior woman having her blood pressure measured at home

ALBANY, N.Y.AARP New York released the following budget statement today, regarding the Hochul administration ignoring serious problems with a state-funded program providing vital home- and community-based services designed to keep older New Yorkers in their own homes, including a huge statewide backlog for services and people who are injured or even die while waiting:

 It is unconscionable that the Hochul administration touts its efforts to make New York a better place for aging New Yorkers yet proposes cutting $9 million from the State Office for the Aging (SOFA) 2024-2025 budget, despite being told last year by that very same agency about major problems providing services older people need to remain in their homes.

Thousands of older people are on wait lists for home-delivered meals and personal care such as toileting and bathing, as well as transportation to doctor appointments and respite for family caregivers.

For years, SOFA refused to divulge details of the wait lists by county and service and only recently made public, at the direct request of the Legislature, a September 2023 report which showed over 11,000 unfulfilled service requests (see links below). In addition, SOFA has not filed reports required by law to detail where over $100 million has been appropriated in the past to address wait lists.

In that report to the Governor, SOFA’s analysis of 2,200 people on the wait lists found: “Many individuals experienced ER visits and hospitalizations, had injuries due to falls, or died while awaiting services.” The report also concluded if the wait lists were addressed with additional state funding it would result in savings of close to $35 million in Medicaid expenditures.

The Assembly has proposed adding $42 million to SOFA’s budget to eliminate the wait lists. The Senate has proposed adding $15 million.

 Now, Governor Hochul must work with legislative leaders to ensure the final state budget includes at minimum $42 million in additional funding so each county’s wait list can be addressed and older New Yorkers in need can get the assistance they require to live with dignity.

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State Office for the Aging (SOFA) report: New York’s Program to Address Unmet Need in Aging Services (2023)

SOFA county-by-county wait lists for home- and community-based services:

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