The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Opinion

May 5, 2013

Charo Boyd: Mothers everywhere appreciate extra help

Think of all the times and ways that Mom has helped you over the years — when you were a child, and after you became an adult. With Mother’s Day upon us, now is a good time to pay Mom back with a little extra help — with her Medicare prescription drug costs.

If your mother is covered by Medicare and has limited income and resources, she may be eligible for Extra Help — available through Social Security — to pay part of her monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year.

That means putting $4,000 in Mom’s pocket without having to spend a dime.

To figure out whether your mother is eligible, Social Security needs to know her income and the value of her savings, investments and real estate (other than the home she lives in). To qualify for the Extra Help, she 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 her annual income is higher, she 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 she and, if married, her spouse:

  •  Support other family members who live with them;
  • Have earnings from work; or
  • Live in Alaska or Hawaii.

Resources limited to $13,300 for an individual or $26,580 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. We do not count her house or car as a resource.

Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that you can help complete for your mom. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp. 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 the nearest Social Security office. Find the Social Security office nearest you by using our online office locator. You’ll find it at the bottom of the “Popular Services” section at www.socialsecurity.gov.

To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048).

Mom has always been there to help you. She’s sure to appreciate a little Extra Help this Mother’s Day — especially if you can show her how to put $4,000 in her pocket without spending a dime. Keep in mind as Father’s Day approaches, you can get the same “free gift” of Extra Help for Dad. Learn more by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.

Charo Boyd is Social Security public affairs specialist for east central Indiana. Her column appears every other Monday on the Business page.

 

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