Social Security: Extra Help Available for Some in Paying Medicare Part D Premiums
Any person currently receiving Medicare benefits may qualify for the “Extra Help” plan which provides assistance in paying for Medicare prescription drug plan premiums and other costs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates the value of Extra Help to average at about $4,000 annually.
Qualifying for Extra Help
In order to qualify for the Extra Help plan, you must:
- Live in the U.S. – any of the 50 states or the District of Columbia, but not in one of the U.S. protectorates like Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.,
- Have limited financial resources of under $13,070 or $26,120, for a single person or married couple, respectively, and
- Have an annual income of $16,755 as an individual, or $22,695 as a married couple, residing together at the same address.
There are some instances in which Medicare beneficiaries with a higher annual income can also qualify for Extra Help. Applicable circumstances include beneficiaries who:
- Provide financial support for other family members residing in the same residence,
- Live in Hawaii or Alaska, and
- In some instances, those who have work earnings that increase their overall annual income.
Applying for Extra Help
There are several ways to apply for the Extra Help program, though all require the completion of an application form: Application for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020). The application can be completed online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp; over the phone, or at your local SSA office. To complete the application via phone, call 1-800-772-1213. You may also request an application be mailed to you by calling the same number.
What Happens after You Submit Your Application?
After your application is reviewed, the SSA will notify you via standard postal mail whether you qualify for Extra Help. If you do qualify, you’ll need to select a Medicare prescription drug plan. If you fail to choose your own plan, one will be selected for you by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Information on selecting a plan and the timeframe for doing so will be contained in the notice you receive from the SSA if you qualify for Extra Help.
Other Forms of Medicare Help
If you qualify for Extra Help, and for other Medicare services, you may also apply for state Medicare Savings Programs. These programs help low income SSD recipients and others pay for other Medicare expenses, including Medicare Part A and Part B, which are the medical insurance and hospital insurance programs respectively.
More Information about Extra Help
If you want to learn more about the Extra Help program before submitting an application, you may do so by visiting the Social Security’s website at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp. You can also call the main SSA phone line at 1-800-772-1213 to speak with a representative or contact your local SSA office. The hearing impaired can receive assistance by dialing TTY 1-800-325-0778.
If you need help finding your local office, call the SSA for assistance, or visit the office locator webpage at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp. Simply type in your zip code and hit submit to find the Social Security office nearest you.
- Do You Qualify?
- Application Process
- Medical Conditions
- Disability Resources