You probably don’t need an excuse to let your grandparents know how much they mean to you. But here is one anyway: September 12 was National Grandparents Day.
Let your grandparents know about a new “twist” in the law that may make them eligible for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug costs, even if they didn’t qualify before.
Take Grandma and Grandpa to www.socialsecurity. gov/prescriptionhelp and tell them about the Extra Help they may be able to get through Social Security to help pay for Medicare prescription drug costs. In addition to the useful information, the website also features videos of celebrities your grandparents will remember even if you don’t: Chubby Checker and Patty Duke.
The high cost of prescription drugs can be a burden on people with limited income. This Extra Help — available through Social Security — can pay part of their monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. It’s worth an average of $3,900 per year.
To figure out whether they’re eligible, Social Security needs to know their income and the value of their savings, investments, and real estate (other than the home they live in). To qualify for the Extra Help, your grandparents must be receiving Medicare 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, your grandparents still may be able to get some help with monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription copayments. Some examples where income may be higher are if they:
• Support other family members who live with them;
• Have earnings from work; or
• Live in Alaska or Hawaii; and
• 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 house and car as resources.
Thanks to this new twist in the law, we no longer count as a resource any life insurance policy, and we no longer count as income the help your grandparents receive when someone else provides them with food and shelter or someone else pays their household bills for food, mortgage, rent, heating fuel or gas, electricity, water, or property taxes.
Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that anyone — family members, friends, or caregivers — can complete. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/ prescriptionhelp. To apply by phone or get an application, 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 (Form SSA-1020). Or go to the nearest Social Security office.
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).
So show your grandparents the twist. Take them to www.socialsecurity.gov/ prescriptionhelp, show them the Chubby Checker and Patty Duke videos, and tell them about the twist in the law that may help them qualify for Extra Help.