Help for Those on Medicare with Prescription Costs

Adults covered by Medicare who have limited income and resources may be eligible for extra help – available through Social Security – to pay part of their monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments.  The extra help is worth an average of $3,900 per year.

To figure out whether a Medicare recipient is eligible, Social Security needs to know the individual’s income and the value of her/his savings, investments, and real estate (other than the home lived in).   To qualify for the extra help, the individual must be receiving Medicare and also have income limited to $16,245 for an individual or $21,855 for spouses living together.  Even if the annual income is higher, one still may be able to get some help with monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. Some examples where income may be higher include if either spouse:

** Supports other family members who live with them;
** Have earnings from work; or
** Live in Alaska or Hawaii; and
** Resources limited to $12,510 for an individual or $25,010 for a married couple living together (i.e. resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. Social Security does not count a house
or car as resources).

Social Security has an online application. You can find it at To apply by phone or have an application mailed to you, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020).  Or go to your local Social Security office.

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