Month: August 2016

Study: Children with SSI more likely to be food insecure

High medical costs associated with raising children with disabilities or special health care needs (SHCN) can drain a household’s budget and force families to struggle with providing even those most basic necessities. For households with particularly low incomes and almost no assets, federal disability benefits (SSI) can help offset the cost of care for these children with SHCN. However, research from Children’s HealthWatch shows that families with children with SHCN are at the highest risk for food insecurity even if they are receiving SSI. Families of children receiving SSI face hardships in finding jobs with adequate wages that enable them to care for their child and frequently do not have the ability to build assets that could help protect from sudden economic shocks. While many families with children receiving SSI may also receive SNAP benefits, SSI often reduces the SNAP benefit amount because it is countable household income. SNAP benefits are also not adequate to purchase an ordinary diet and may be depleted even faster for households with children with specific dietary needs.

Children’s HealthWatch recommends the following policy changes to support children with SHCN receiving SSI

  1. Sustain SSI benefit levels to ensure children with special health care needs continue to receive support to offset the cost of their medical care and needs.
  2. Modify the asset limit of $3,000 per household so families have the ability to save money that can help absorb sudden financial hardships or allow them to better stabilize themselves financially.
  3. Partially exclude SSI benefits from SNAP benefits calculations so families are able to receive more nutritional assistance.
  4. Simplify the verification process for the medical expense deduction for SNAP so more households are able to take advantage of this deduction. Families with disabled members can deduct medical expenses over $35 per month which can increase benefit amounts.

SSI is a critical resource that helps low income families with children with disabilities or special health care needs but it is often not enough to ensure access to basic necessities. Ensuring that benefits amounts provide enough resources for families is essential to helping these vulnerable families and children. SNAP policies should also be updated to ensure families already at risk for food insecurity are able to meet their nutritional needs and those of their children.

New York State Announces 2017 Marketplace Insurance Rates

The New York State Department of Financial Services announced Friday the 2017 health insurance rates for Individual and Small Business plans through the New York State of Health Marketplace. Plans on the individual marketplace will increase by an average 16.6% – the largest increase since the Marketplace opened in 2014. The new rates will go into January 1, 2017. Seven plans offered in Nassau and Suffolk counties were approved for double digit premium increases and 3 of those plans (Affinity, NSLIJ-Care Connect, and United) will increase premiums by more than 20%.

Despite the double-digit increase for many plans, the Cuomo administration touted its vigilance, saying the department reduced insurers’ requested 2017 rate increases by more than 28 percent overall, which will save policyholders more than $302 million. While many consumers qualify for tax credits to assist with the cost of health insurance premiums, consumers should shop around during their re-certification process to determine which plan fits their needs best.

Click here for the full press release.

Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program RFA Cancelled

DASNY (Dormitory Authority of the State of New York) has announced the cancellation of the Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program (NICIP) solicitation released back in October. DASNY will issue a new RFA around August 5th, 2016. The State will combine the initial $50 million appropriation put forward by the Governor and this year’s $50 million appropriation championed by the legislature and issue a new solicitation. No awards were issued for the RFA issued in October. Organizations that applied for the initial RFA will need to re-apply for funding in the upcoming RFA. The purpose of this program is to make targeted investments throughout the state to ensure the quality, efficiency, accessibility, and reach of non-profit human services organizations.

The revised Request for Applications is expected to be released on August 5, 2016 and will be accessible on the  New York State Grants Gateway and DASNY website. Responses will be due on September 29, 2016.