A special message from...
Assemblyman Steve Englebright

Dear Neighbor,

After the second world war, the popular lifestyle known as suburbia was “invented” on Long Island as a response to the need for housing for returning veterans and their spouses. Many children, the “baby boomers,” soon filled these suburban nests with a new generation.

Now, as these baby boomers become “senior boomers,” we stand on the threshold of our senior population doubling in little more than a decade. This huge demographic shift presents both an opportunity and imperative to redefine our state’s policy approach to aging.

As chairman of the Assembly Committee on Aging, it is my charge to advance initiatives that protect and support the special needs of seniors while simultaneously devising strategies to meet the challenges of the future. Be it health care, housing, long-term care, transportation, or pension costs, we need to rework our public policy. If we fail to do so, all New Yorkers could lose much of their quality of life if the inevitable costs of long-term care are allowed to threaten the solvency of our state.

This newsletter highlights some of the initiatives I have advanced to help solve both today’s problems and those of tomorrow. I hope that you will take a moment to look through it.

As always, please call or stop by my district office at 149 Main Street in Setauket to share your comments or concerns about any state or local issue. My office also offers senior citizen cards and complimentary notary service for your convenience.


Assemblyman Steve Englebright

Legislative Update

The following Englebright measures passed both houses of the Legislature and now await the governor’s signature.

Creating Elder Law

Assemblyman Englebright’s legislation (A.9708 Englebright) creates the designation of Elder Law in New York State law to consolidate elder-related laws and provide a new level of focus on issues affecting the state’s seniors. Currently, state law dealing with seniors is scattered throughout diverse sections of law resulting in a confusion of definitions of who is a senior and in targeting programs for seniors. Creating a New York Elder Law is the first step in fully acknowledging the importance of law that protects, serves and supports the special needs of residents in this stage of life.

Senior Citizens Bill of Rights

Assemblyman Englebright’s measure (A.9587-C Englebright) sets down in law that New York State services and programs for seniors should be shaped by the principles of strengthening independence, affirming dignity, maximizing choice and a recognition that seniors provide a vast potential source of social, cultural, historic, and spiritual enrichment and leadership.

This bill puts into place a series of quality-of-life goals and advisories that will guide the design of programs for seniors, and places the responsibility on the State Office of Aging to provide regular updates on the success of the programs in meeting these goals.

Protecting Nursing Home Residents

Many nursing home residents and family members are unaware that volunteer ombudsmen are available to help settle disputes between nursing home administrations, residents, and family members. The ombudsman program has successfully mediated disputes and acts as one of the only day-to-day, cost-effective services that ensures consistent and fair treatment of seniors who must live in nursing homes.

Assemblyman Englebright’s bill (A.2350 Englebright) would require such facilities to display posters provided free of charge by the ombudsman program in several public areas of such facilities. This bill will help ensure that all residents know that they have someone to call if they need help in resolving any dispute.

Protecting Residents of Assisted Living Facilities

Assemblyman Englebright’s Assisted Living Reform Bill (A.11820 Englebright) has passed the Assembly and Senate. This important consumer protection legislation provides: a definition of assisted living, uniform admission and discharge policies, strong consumer protections, state oversight, standard contract disclosures, and a comprehensive “Resident’s Bill of Rights.”

Assemblyman Englebright’s legislation was supported by AARP, Alzheimer’s Association, The Long Term Care Community Coalition, StateWide Senior Action Council, the Alliance for Retired Americans, the Empire State Adult Home Association, and the unregulated assisted living facilities. Assemblyman Englebright’s leadership enabled a compromise bill supported by all the stakeholders to pass on the last day of session, ending five years of gridlock.

AARP members took a recent road trip visiting state lawmakers around Long Island advocating for legislation to regulate assisted living facilities. Dressed in bright orange T-shirts with the message “Protect Assisted Living Residents,” they stopped to visit Assemblyman Englebright at his district office to thank him for his sponsorship of the assisted living bill in the Assembly. Assemblyman Englebright is chair of the Committee on Aging and has been pushing for this important consumer protection legislation. Among those present were Old Field residents Bill Hall, president of the Brookhaven-Islip AARP chapter, and his wife, Thelma.

Assemblyman Englebright’s Long-Term Care Initiative

Because of the demographic shift that will cause our senior population to double in the next decade, we can anticipate a corresponding dramatic increase in Medicaid, health, and long-term care costs. If not properly anticipated, this could send state and local taxes skyrocketing, reduce services for the frail elderly, and set up a “nobody wins” intergenerational struggle for funding.

Assemblyman Englebright has introduced an innovative series of bills that can help begin the much-needed redesign of our current system for funding long-term care. Assemblyman Englebright’s goal is to ensure that all New Yorkers are covered and that the families of New York continue to have resources that enable balanced budgetary policies.

  • Universal Long-Term Care Insurance
    (A.11313 Englebright)

    It is important that we develop a plan for the financing of universal long-term care insurance to ensure that all New Yorkers are covered with a meaningful policy that is affordable by increasing the risk pool. Assemblyman Englebright’s measure creates a task force to evaluate long- term care insurance options.

    A compromise was reached during budget negotiations on legislation to study and develop investment product options for insurance policy holders to adequately prepare for the costs of long-term care and related insurance products. Several of Assemblyman Englebright’s task force items were contained in the compromise.

  • Increasing the Long-Term Care Tax Credit
    (A.11312 Englebright)

    Assemblyman Englebright’s legislation promotes the purchase of long-term care insurance by increasing the New York State tax credit. Through Assemblyman Englebright’s efforts during recent budget negotiations, the long-term care insurance tax credit was doubled to 20 percent.

  • Long-term Care Insurance Outreach and Education Program
    (A.11311-A Englebright)

    Assemblyman Englebright’s legislation creates a state and local long-term care insurance outreach and education program to enable individuals, businesses and the general public to learn about long-term care, its costs, various insurance options, and the need to plan in advance for retirement. During budget negotiations, Assemblyman Englebright secured $5 million to get this important new program started. The Department of Health and the State Office for the Aging will administer the statewide program. Each County Office for the Aging will receive a grant to establish a long- term care insurance resource center staffed with a full- time coordinator who will promote long-term care at the community level.

  • Reverse Loan Program For Lower Income Seniors
    (A.11314 Englebright)

    This legislation creates a new reverse mortgage loan program through New York’s mortgage agency, SONYMA, specifically to allow lower income seniors who have a chronic disability to use the equity in their homes to stay in their homes and age in place. Loan fees and costs would be lower than market rate and applicants can borrow up to 80 percent of the equity in their homes to purchase long-term care service.

For more information on Assemblyman Englebright’s initiatives on aging issues, please call 751-3094 or e-mail him at engles@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Steve Englebright
149 Main Street • East Setauket, NY 11733
(631) 751-3094 •