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Howard Kossover: Medicare Extra Help available for those with lower income

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Q: What is Medicare “Extra Help”?

A: Part of the Medicare prescription drug (Part D) program, the Extra Help low income subsidy can help pay for parts of Part D monthly premiums,  annual  deductibles and co-payments.

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If on Medicare, people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or medical assistance are automatically eligible for Extra Help.

Apply for the Extra Help through Social Security or online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.

To qualify for the Extra Help, people must be receiving Medicare and have income limited to $17,235 for an individual or $23,265 for a married couple living together.

Even if annual income is higher than these amounts, some help might still be possible if you support other family members who live with you, have earnings from work or live in Alaska or Hawaii.

Resources are limited to $13,300 for an individual or $26,580 for a married couple living together.

Resources include things such as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds but not your house or car.

Learn more or apply for Extra Help at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp, by calling the SSA national number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or at your local office.

More about Medicare prescription drug plans is at www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048).

Did you know? In May, the Social Security Administration announced a new mobile optimized website for smartphone users. 

When you visit the SSA website, www.socialsecurity.gov, via smartphone (Android, Blackberry, iPhone, and Windows devices) you will be redirected to the new mobilefriendly site. 

There you can access a mobile version of Social Security’s Frequently Asked Questions, an interactive Social Security number (SSN) decision tree to help people identify documents needed for a new/replacement SSN card, and mobile publications which they can listen to in both English and Spanish right on their phone.

Each year, more than 35 million Social Security web page views come via smartphones.

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Send general interest questions to him at howard.kossover@ssa.gov. Read his online articles at socialsecurityinfo.areavoices.com.

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