The NYS Social Services System has inconsistencies that can make financial security very challenging. For someone not familiar with this system, it might not make any sense. In fact, that is because it is not sensible.
A Closed System
Social Services is a closed system. In other words if one area increases, another area will decrease rather than also increase. For example, when there is a COLA (cost of living) increase in monthly social security payments, food stamp payments will decrease.
Logic would dictate that if the cost of living increases, the cost of food also increases. But the closed system concludes that if an individual receives a greater social security payment, there is less need for assistance with food purchases.
Another example is that increases to income through other sources and benefits can lessen if not eliminate ones eligibility for food stamps. In other words, it can best to get a direct increase in food stamps rather than an increase in monthly income.
In addition, if an individual’s income increase is great enough, one can lose Medicaid benefits. That can result in a loss of coverage for medical expenses that are covered under Medicaid. Medicaid coverage is substantially greater than Medicare coverage. Therefore if one needs financial assistance from the social services system, it is better to qualify for more help rather than less help.
Because of the inconsistencies within the social services system, it is important to learn how it works. A good place to start is with a social worker at a community senior center. Actually these professionals often schedule visits to senior residential facilities offering their services at no cost.
In addition, counties have facilities where individuals can learn about and apply for financial assistance. To find one, check on Google. In the Sources & Resources section below are links to several social services departments. They include New York State and counties within it.
SOURCES & RESOURCES
Nassau County Department of Social Services
Suffolk County Department of Social Services
NYC Department of Social Services
Social Programs | The State of New York
New York State Local Departments of Social Services
Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)