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Onondaga County Legislature approves stimulus check for senior citizens

The Onondaga County Legislature approved some financial relief for senior citizens, in the form of a one-time payment.

Democratic Legislator Peggy Chase is the chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. She said she has been hearing from senior citizens who are struggling with their mortgage and tax bills in the wake of the pandemic.

“When we’re looking at the cost of everything else going up, there’s not a lot of flexibility even if they give them a little bump in Social Security,” said Chase.

Now, those seniors will be getting a little bit of help from the county, in the form of a one-time $200 payment for each eligible household.

The Onondaga County Legislature unanimously approved the measure at this week’s meeting.

While it received widespread support, Democratic Legislator Bill Kinne said he would like to see the program expanded to include low income families, too.

Chase said she hasn’t forgotten others are struggling, but one thing at a time.

"Everybody has suffered financially through this pandemic in one way or the other, and it would be nice to give it to everybody,” said Chase. “It's not that it's not possible, but logistically, we haven't figured that out."

The county said eligible seniors are the ones who are currently receiving the New York state Enhanced STAR exemption for the 2022-2023 school year. That’s about 27,500 households countywide.

The program is expected to cost $5.5 million. That money will come from the county’s fund balance.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.