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Apply for Part D extra help at any time

Q: Can a person apply for the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), extra help at any time?

A: Yes. Part of Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), extra help through Social Security may help pay part of monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments.

Anyone eligible for Medicare can obtain Part D coverage. Only the extra help portion has income and resource requirements.

For extra help, income is limited to $15,600 annual income for an individual or $21,000 for a married couple living together.

Not all income counts. With higher income, some extra help may be possible. Examples of where income may be higher include if a person or couple support other family members living with them or if they have earnings from work.

Resources are limited to $11,990 for an individual or $23,970 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds.

Not all financial resources are included. For example, the value of the house lived in or a car are not counted as resources. An online extra help application is at the SSA website

People can apply by phone or get a paper application by calling the SSA national toll-free number, 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) or their local SSA office. Ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020).

To learn more about Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods, visit or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227; TTY 877-486-2048).

Scam alert

Over the past two weeks, SSA beneficiaries in North Dakota and Minnesota have reported several scams.

All involved thieves telephoning and trying to obtain personal information such as birthdates or bank account numbers.

Lines used by the thieves included "you are due a higher SSA benefit because you paid taxes on time" and "you will be sent a special Medicare card that pays all medical costs."

Sometimes the caller alleged being a SSA employee, sometimes not. All of these are scams to steal your personal information.

Protect yourself. Thieves can be very persuasive. SSA employees do not make cold calls or send emails asking for personal information.

Do not provide personal information unless you initiate the call and know who you are talking to. Protect yourself.