Social Security: A handsome gift for Dad |

Social Security: A handsome gift for Dad

For the June 11, 2011 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

Father’s Day is right around the corner. Perhaps you’ll give Dad the usual gift: a necktie, shaving set, leather wallet, or new fishing lure. But there’s something he may appreciate even more. People all over the country are helping their dads save nearly $4,000 a year on the cost of prescription drugs. You can help your dad too – and it won’t cost you a dime.

The high cost of prescription medication can be a burden on fathers (or anyone) who have limited income and resources. But there is Extra Help – available through Social Security – that could pay part of his monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. That Extra Help is worth an average of almost $4,000 a year.

To figure out whether your father is eligible, Social Security needs to know his income and the value of his savings, investments, and real estate (other than the home he lives in). To qualify for the Extra Help, he must be enrolled in Medicare and have:

• Annual income limited to $16,335 for an individual or $22,065 for a married couple living together. Even if his income is higher, he 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 he or his spouse:

– Support other family members who live with them;

– Have earnings from work; or

– Live in Alaska or Hawaii; and

• Resources limited to $12,640 for an individual or $25,260 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds. We do not count his house and car as resources.

Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that you can help complete for your dad. You can find it at Just select the link on the left of the page that says, “Get extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs.” 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.

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

Of course, the Extra Help is not just for fathers. Anyone who is entitled to Medicare and has limited income and resources may be eligible.

kathy petersen is a public affairs specialist for social security, denver region. you can write her c/o social security administration, 605 main, suite 201, rapid city, sd, 57701 or via e-mail at direct deposits was the most frequently asked question this month, learn more in next week’s popular “q&a” column.


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