Under legislation (S.3483) co-sponsored by NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., senior citizens who receive small increases in pension or social security benefits would be protected from losing their eligibility for New York’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program.
Noting that the bill recently passed the full State Senate, Addabbo said, “The EPIC program has been enormously successful in helping income-eligible seniors afford expensive prescription drugs. Elderly New Yorkers shouldn’t be at risk of losing these potentially life-saving benefits if their household incomes go up slightly owing to a few more dollars in their pension or social security checks.”
To be eligible for EPIC assistance, single seniors may earn up to $35,000 annually, and married couples must have a household income up to $50,000. Thousands of New York seniors participate in the program, which pays a portion of their prescription drug costs. Unfortunately, small cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) in private or public pension benefits or social security payments may put some seniors over the income threshold for EPIC participation.
“It’s not like these senior citizens are receiving some type of huge windfall that would make it easy for them to purchase the prescription medications they need on their own,” Addabbo said. “It’s simply wrong for EPIC financial assistance to be stripped away from elderly New Yorkers when they receive small COLAs in their other benefits. Access to affordable prescription medication is vital to helping seniors safeguard their health and welfare.”
Having passed the Senate, the bill is now under consideration by the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.