Giving Back to Western New York Seniors
Assemblymam Hawley

A Commitment from

Assemblyman Hawley Assemblyman
Steve Hawley
Giving Back to Western New York Seniors
photo "One of my goals is to make sure that we continue to enact policies that improve the quality of life for all New York’s seniors"
- Assemblyman Steve Hawley

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has a plan to deliver relief to overburdened seniors:
  • EPIC Extra - To help defray the cost of prescription drugs, seniors with an income of $60,000 or less would be eligible to claim an annual income tax deduction of up to $1,000.

  • Long-term Health Care Insurance - To help senior citizens pay for long-term care insurance, I propose increasing the tax credit to 25 percent of premiums paid.

  • Senior Heat Tax Rebate - Many seniors have difficulty affording heat for their homes during the winter months. The Senior Heat Tax Rebate would provide seniors with a $200 tax rebate to help heat their homes.

Working for Seniors

Dear Friend,

This brochure is designed to acquaint you with some of the special programs and services available to senior citizens in New York State.

Since this is intended as a general introduction to a wide range of programs, you may find you have questions not answered here. In that case, you should contact the federal, state, or local agency administering the program.

Keep in mind these programs have been designed to help meet your needs, so if you’re not sure which agency to turn to, or if you encounter any problems in your search for assistance, please don’t hesitate to call me.

Steve Hawley

Do Not Call Registry

Tired of annoying telemarketing phone calls? Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry at or toll-free 1-888-382-1222. You can list both home and cell phone numbers through the registry. Your phone number will remain on the registry for 5-years from the date you register. You can re-register at any time.

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

New York State’s HEAP helps pay heating costs. Eligibility is determined by your annual income and household size. To find out more about HEAP, call your local Office for the Aging or the Senior Citizens’ Hotline at 1-800-342-9871.


Verizon offers Lifeline reduced rate services, such as the basic plan for $1 per month plus cost of calls, if income eligible. Call 890-7100 (toll free anywhere in the state -no area code necessary) for an application and more information.

Real Property Tax Exemption

Assemblyman Steve Hawley fought for legislation to add $1.3 billion to this year’s Middle Class STAR rebate program. Under the bill, the average rebate checks for basic STAR and Enhanced STAR are increasing:

  • $428 / $325 - Genesee County
  • $386 / $307 - Monroe County
  • $386 / $279 - Niagara County
  • $428 / $313 - Orleans County
(Average 2007 Middle Class STAR/ Enhanced STAR amounts)

Cell Phones for Seniors
cell phone For seniors who want the security and safety that owning a cell phone provides without paying for high monthly service charges, there are options. First, older cell phones that are no longer in service can still be used to call 911. Second, Phones for Life is the only non-profit organization currently distributing free cell phones with minutes. The program’s success relies on cell phone donations from individuals, corporations and schools nationwide. Seniors who would like a free cell phone for Emergency 9-1-1 purposes can contact Phones for Life, Inc. at (818) 236-2704.

In addition, phones with minutes are programmed with In Case of Emergency (ICE) numbers. ICE numbers help emergency responders reach specific doctors, relatives or care providers in the event of a crisis.

EPIC & Medicare Part D

As a result of changes in New York State law, seniors will now be able to save even more because the state’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program will help them pay for their Part D Coverage. The following program changes took effect on June 1, 2007:

  • All EPIC enrollees, with few exceptions, will be required to join Medicare Part D drug plan to keep their EPIC coverage.

  • EPIC will help enrollees pay their Medicare Part D premiums.

  • EPIC will enroll seniors in a basic Medicare drug plan based on the drugs and pharmacies they use, or seniors can choose their own. (Medicare Advantage members will be enrolled in a plan offered by their HMO).

  • EPIC will continue to provide supplemental coverage for drug costs not paid by Medicare drug plans such as deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance, drugs not covered and gap coverage.


The intent is to make the federal government responsible for the primary benefits and where qualified, to let EPIC supplement Medicare Part D. This helps alleviate the cost to the state while maintaining the same level of benefits for seniors. Benefits covered only by EPIC will still be available.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact the New York State Health Department at (800) 332-3742.

"Extra Help" Subsidy

The (federal) Social Security Administration offers seniors whose savings, investments and real estate (other than their home) is less than $11,710 (single) and $23,410 (married and living with a spouse) "Extra Help," which pays for the annual premium and deductible for the Medicare prescription drug coverage and limits co-payments to $2 and $5. To encourage EPIC enrollees to apply for "Extra Help," those enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan with full "Extra Help" will have their EPIC enrollment fees waived.

To determine if you qualify, apply by either calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or by completing an online application at If an individual qualifies, he or she would then enroll in Part D to assist in prescription drug costs.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley continues to fight for issues that New York Seniors care about and supports legislation that would:
  • Establish a prescription drug pool to allow the state, business owners, and individuals to combine their purchasing power. Bulk buying lowers drug costs by increasing rebates from the pharmaceutical industry;

  • Require cell phone providers to allow customers to cancel contracts, without penalty, after receiving their first bills, provide line-by-line itemization and explanation of individual fees and charges, and issue more detailed coverage maps of their service locations; and

  • Strengthen laws to create harsher penalties for individuals who commit identity theft and allow New Yorkers to place a security freeze on their credit information.


***Click here for printable view.***

Helpful Toll-Free & Local Numbers:
NYS Medicaid Fraud Hotline 1-877-873-7283
NYS Office for the Aging 1-800-342-9871
Social Security Administration 1-800-772-1213
Veterans Affairs Benefits 1-800-827-1000
NYS Department of Motor Vehicles 1-800-225-5368
Public Service Commission 1-800-342-3377
Genesee County Office of the Aging 1-585-343-1611
Monroe County Office of the Aging 1-585-753-6280
Niagara County Office of the Aging 1-716-438-4020
Orleans County Office for the Aging 1-585-589-3191

121 North Main Street, Suite 100 • Albion, NY 14411 • (585) 589-5780
531 Legislative Office Building • Albany, NY 12248 • (518) 455-5811