What is the NY Assisted Living Program (ALP), and am I Eligible?

What is the NY Assisted Living Program (ALP), and am I Eligible?

If you’re a New York resident and are searching for assisted living, you may have come across the Assisted Living Program (ALP) that the NY Department of Health offers. What exactly does this program provide, and who is it meant for? 

Caregiver and senior woman laughing in an assisted living community

Who is Eligible for the NY ALP?

The NY ALP is for seniors in New York who would otherwise be placed in a nursing home because living at home is no longer safe. The program offers seniors the opportunity to move into a less medically-intensive setting than a nursing home. Participants get both the benefits of a safe environment where they have all the help they need, and have access to recreational and social activities—all at no cost to them. Essentially, it’s for people who need assisted-living levels of care but might not have access to it and, thus, would end up in a nursing home. 

To be eligible for the program, you need to be eligible for placement in a nursing home, but not require nursing-home levels of care. This might raise some confusion: how can I be eligible for nursing home placement, yet not require what a nursing home provides?

Think of it like this: a nursing home is covered by most insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid. Assisted living, however, is usually not (although some services may be covered by Medicaid at a select few facilities). If staying in your home is no longer safe for you, then, you might have no choice but to move to a nursing home if you cannot afford to pay for assisted living on your own. The benefit of the program, therefore, is that it offers you the opportunity to move to a community that fits your needs without the usual out-of-pocket cost.

Both NY Medicaid recipients and private payers may apply for the program, although the majority of ALP participants do receive Medicaid. It is important to keep in mind that there is a limited number of people who can participate in the program, so not everyone who applies can get approved. 

What Kinds of Communities are Included in the ALP?

Because the ALP is covered through the state, only certain kinds of communities participate in the program. For example, the program does not cover any private-pay communities—your options are limited to Medicaid-based ones. Keep in mind that the ALP covers “the basics” of assisted living, including medical and personal care, room and board, housekeeping, recreational activities, assistance provided by aides, skilled nursing, and physical and occupational therapy. Many communities offer more than just these services, but the ALP may not cover them. While it might seem like you’ll have to be flexible, the program is still worth looking into and can still be a better option than a nursing home.