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March 24, 2018
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Every Dollar Counts
Updated On: Jun 17, 2009


Social Security Column
By Judith Bartels
Social Security District Manager in Springfield, IL
Fathers are often known for their good advice, whether it’s how to catch a ball, ace a job interview, grill the perfect burger or get the best deal on a new car.
But if your father is struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs, maybe it’s time for you to give him a few words of advice. This Father’s Day, you may be able to help your dad save an average of $3,900 a year on his prescription drug costs. Here’s how.
If your father, or any father figure you know, is covered by Medicare and has limited income and resources, he may qualify for extra help — available through Social Security to pay part of his monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. The extra help is worth an average of $3,900 per 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 receiving Medicare and also have:
·        Income limited to $16,245 for an individual or $21, 855 for a married couple living together. Even if his annual 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 wife:
            —Support other family members who live with them;
            —Have earnings from work; or
            —Live in Alaska or Hawaii; and
·        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 his house or car as resources.
Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that you can help complete. You can find it at 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). 
So this Father’s Day, as the meat is grilling, you’re playing catch, and talking about your own kids, fit in a bit of good advice for Dad — advice he can put to use right away. Tell him about the extra help with his prescription drug costs. In fact, you can help him apply online in minutes at After all, in times like these, every dollar counts.

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