Now, you can help someone you care about apply for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. Anyone who has Medicare can get Medicare prescription drug coverage. Some people with limited resources and income also are eligible for Extra Help to pay for the costs—monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments—related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth an average of $3,900 per year.

Many people qualify for these big savings and don’t even know it. To find out if someone is eligible, Social Security will need to know the value of their savings, investments and real estate (other than their home), and their income. If they are married and living with their spouse, we will need this information for both of them.

To qualify for Extra Help, they must:

  • Reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia
  • Have resources limited to $12,510 for an individual or $25,010 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. We do not count their home and car as resources; and
  • Have income limited to $16,245 for an individual or $21,855 for a married couple living together.

Even if their annual income is higher, the ones you care about still may be able to get some help with their monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. Some examples where income may be higher include if they or their spouse:

—Support other family members who live with them;

—Have earnings from work; or

—Live in Alaska or Hawaii.

Note: Beginning January 1, 2010, more Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help because some things no longer count as resources and income. We will no longer count as a resource any life insurance policy; and we will no longer count as income the help they receive regularly from someone else to pay their household expenses—food, mortgage, rent, heating fuel or gas, electricity, water, and property taxes.