Bill introduced to increase Personal Needs Allowance for nursing home residents

Spectrum News

December 5, 2023

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Legislation introduced Tuesday would increase how much money New Yorkers in nursing homes can keep of their income to use for personal items.

People in nursing homes who receive Medicaid benefits are allotted a Personal Needs Allowance, or money they're permitted to keep from their personal income that remains exempt from nursing home care costs. Any income outside the PNA is used for a person's cost of care.

The new legislation, sponsored by Senate Disabilities Committee chair John Mannion, proposes to increase the Personal Needs Allowance for the average nursing home resident in the state from $50 to $128 per month.

"Senior citizens and nursing home residents deserve to live with dignity and respect, and that includes having the resources they need to cover their personal expenses without worry," Mannion said Wednesday in a prepared statement.

People in nursing homes use the money to pay for minor general expenses including toiletries, clothes, shoes and personal care services like haircuts.

New York's current Personal Needs Allowance is $35 to $90 per month, depending on a person's circumstances, such as being a veteran.

The rate was set in 1988, and has not been altered since.

"The PNA has not increased in over three decades – it is well past time that we address this significant quality-of-life issue on behalf of New York’s seniors," Mannion said.

The first day of the state's 2024 legislative session is Jan. 3.