Department For The Aging Faces Budget Cuts

Posted on 16. Apr, 2010 by in Uncategorized

Goodbye and good luck.

Over 6,000 seniors could be left with nowhere to turn if Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Preliminary Budget is approved. The Department for the Aging is facing steep budget cuts totaling $2,264 million, in order to help resuscitate the city’s fragile financial state. Approximately 45-100 of New York City’s 301 senior centers could be shutting its doors.

The city blames the state for losing out on $25 million is discretionary funding that is traditionally allocated to the DFTA senior centers budget. According to the Independent Budget Office, New York State receives $65 million annually from the federal government as part of the Social Service Block Grant (also know as Title XX). The state plans to allocate these federal funds solely to domestic violence and adult protective services.

On March 9, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Aging Committee Chair Jessica Lappin, and advocates for seniors held a protest on the steps of City Hall to express outrage about the cuts.

Besides senior centers, the DFTA also proposed to re-access Medicaid eligibility in order to combat costs and meet PEG expectations. The details are still being ironed out, but drastic changes could lead to problems for many seniors. Advocacy SAGE, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Elders expressed their concerns.

Catherine Thurston Addresses Proposed Medicaid Cuts from uche abanobi on Vimeo.

Below is the Budge Function Analysis for the DFTA. Most of the DFTA’s budget funds go into senior centers and meals.

budget expense chart

As more seniors turn 65, the cost of Medicaid is increasing, and it is becoming a heavy burden for the city, and even the state, to shoulder. The chart below breaks down the costs of Medicaid by city and state. The the most recent data available on the Medicaid website is from 2008.

medicaid

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released a report, last month, entitled “APPROXIMATELY 6,500 NY SENIORS IN NURSING HOMES COULD BE LIVING INDEPENDENTLY, SAVE NY TAXPAYERS $73 MILLION EACH YEAR.” Here are here findings for New York City.

medicaid savings

It is unclear if the proposed budget cuts and PEGs will be adopted in the finally budget, but it is certain that long-term care and Medicaid are necessary for seniors, and the city and the state cannot continue to foot such a large bill. 64-year-old William Bryson agreed.

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/87/files/2010/04/medicaid-audio.mp3]

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