Elder advocates from the Senior Umbrella Network of Brooklyn (SUN-B) recently hosted New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, who outlined new and improving services available for seniors and the caregiver community.
Speaking to a packed house at the SS Joachim and Anne Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Brighton Beach, DiNapoli commended SUN-B members, including SelectCare Community Liaison Pat Tarantino, for their continued efforts to protect the borough’s growing aging community.
DiNapoli, himself a family caregiver for his 90 year-old father living in Nassau County, said more efforts must be made statewide to provide seniors with the personalized, comprehensive care that he and his family work to provide. “It’s becoming harder and harder for so many people to access that level of services,” DiNapoli said, highlighting the growing role of nonprofits in elder care.
To that end, DiNapoli’s office recently has taken a two-prong approach to helping nonprofit care providers: first, by providing free fraud detection training to nonprofits in an effort to safeguard both their finances and reputations, and second by dogging other state agencies to process contracts and payments for nonprofits in a more timely manner.
“In 2012, the latest year my office has reviewed, nearly 80 percent of all state contracts were not processed in a timely manner,” DiNapoli said, highlighting the financial strain these delays can cause service providers.
DiNapoli has staunchly supported financial penalties for state agencies that fail to pay nonprofits on time, citing the financial and operational difficulties these delays in payment can cause.
“We have not fully shown our appreciation for the work [nonprofits] provide, the employment opportunities you create.”
DiNapoli also reminded Sun-B members of his office’s unclaimed funds database, which reconnects New Yorkers with paychecks, pensions and other funds that were never deposited. The database currently holds $13 billion in funds stretching back 75 years.
Accessing these funds is as easy as visiting the Unclaimed Funds website and keying in the name of any person or business that might be waiting on payments and can be claimed online by either the named individual or their surviving kin.
The largest payout from the fund was roughly $4 million dollars, but these huge windfalls are not the norm, DiNapoli cautioned.
“Four million dollars is not exactly common, but in this tough economic time, every little bit can help,” DiNapoli said, before encouraging Internet-savvy family members to run searches for their older relatives. “When you can’t sleep at two in the morning, you should visit the site and see what might turn up.”
SelectCare Home Care Services is an active member in elder advocacy groups throughout New York City, including the Senior Umbrella Network – Brooklyn, the Lower East Side Inter Agency Council, the West Side Inter Agency Council, the Home Based Care Alliance, and numerous other organizations dedicated to protecting the rights of seniors and improving their quality-of-life. A special thanks to SUN-B President and Chair Vicki Ellner for making DiNapoli’s presentation possible.