NYS Elder Economic Security Index: Bridging Gaps

A Snapshot of Public Support Programs

Once gaps between income and economic security have been measured, the following questions arise: Can the gaps be bridged? Are there public support programs that can provide economic security?

Using the Elder Index and Wider Opportunities for Women’s Economic Security Simulator™(Simulator), which calculates public support levels based on program eligibility rules and support level formulas, one can measure change in economic security as elders obtain or lose public supports. The Elder Index and Simulator provide a valuable snapshot of economic security and rapidly changing public support program availability, eligibility rules and support levels.

The Simulator models the impact of the following major federally- and state-administered support programs available in the last quarter of 2009. See the Appendix for additional program details.

  • Income Assistance: Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Food Assistance:Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Prescription Assistance: Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS) and Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC)
  • Medical Assistance: Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) and Medicaid
  • Long-Term Care Assistance (LTC): Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP)
  • Energy Assistance: Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
  • Housing Assistance: Housing Choice Voucher Program and the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program

Figure 6 illustrates, those who live on very low fixed incomes may approach or attain economic security if they receive all major supports, including scarce housing assistance.

Those with 80% area median income (AMI) ($33,100 for a single person in Sullivan County) are eligible for federal housing assistance. However, those with “extremely low” incomes, below 30% area median income ($12,540 for a single person in Sullivan County), are granted priority by law and receive 75% of available federal assistance.

Because the supply of public housing and housing vouchers is limited, housing assistance recipients rarely have incomes above 50% AMI. The New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal oversees county-level administered public housing and administers only Approximately 38,500 Housing Choice Vouchers in a state where there are over 3 million rental units. As a result, eligible low-income elders are often unable to access New York’s greatest potential contribution to economic security.

The Impact of Public Support

Learn more about this initiative by clicking the links below:

Economic Security Index by County (.pdf)
New York Elder Economic Security Initiative
Real Cost of Living
Making Ends Meet
Bridging the Gaps
Elder Index Resources