Paying for Health Care and Prescription Drugs
Benefit: Health insurance that helps pay for preventive care, doctor visits, hospital stays and prescription drugs.
Who can apply: People who are 65 and older, and younger people with disabilities or kidney failure.
How to apply: Call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 and tell the operator where you live. You can also log on to www.socialsecurity.gov and select the Medicare tab. You can also get help through your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). For information about the Medicare prescription drug coverage, call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) or log on to www.medicare.gov.
Medicare Savings Programs
Benefit: Pays for some of the costs of Medicare, including the Part B premium, deductibles and co-payments. How much you get depends on your income and assets.
Who can apply: Benefits vary by state. Call your State Medicaid Program to see if you qualify for a Medicare Savings Program in your state: 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) can help. TTY users should call 877-486-2048 toll-free.
How to apply: For more information or to request an application for the Medicare Savings Program, call 800-362-1504.
Medicare Rx Extra Help
Benefit: Pays for the monthly fee and deductible for Medicare prescription drug coverage, and lowers prescription drug co-payments.
Who can apply: People who get Medicare and have combined savings, investments and real estate (other than your home) not worth more than $13,070 if you are single, or $26,120 if you are married and living with your spouse.
How to apply: Call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 and ask for the Medicare Rx Extra Help application. You can also log on to www.socialsecurity.gov and click on the Medicare section.
Benefit: Provides medical coverage for hospital care, health center and clinical services, doctor care, nurse care, lab and X-ray services, and nursing homes.
Who can apply: People who are 65 or older, blind or have disabilities, few resources or, in some cases, high medical bills. To qualify, you must meet Medicaid income and asset limits. Income limits vary, depending on the size of your family and where you live. Income limits also vary based on the particular Medicaid program for which you qualify, so contact your state Medicaid office for more information.
Benefit: Monthly checks. How much you get depends on how long you have worked, how much money you earned, where you worked and your age when you began getting benefits.
Who can apply: Workers who are 62 or older, people with disabilities, or the spouse and children of a deceased or disabled worker who paid into the Social Security program.
How to apply: You can find out if you qualify for Social Security benefits by using the screening tool on the Social Security website (www.socialsecurity.gov). If you qualify, you can apply for retirement benefits online at www.socialsecurity.gov. You can also make an appointment at your local Social Security office. To find your local Social Security office, call 800-772-1213.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Benefit: Monthly checks.
Who can apply: People who are 65 and older, or people who are blind or have disabilities and have very low income and assets.
How to apply: You must make an appointment at your local Social Security office to apply. You can find your local Social Security office by calling 800-772-1213 and telling the operator where you live. Or, you can visit the Supplemental Security Income website.
Connects older Americans and their caregivers with sources of information on senior services. Call 800-677-1116 (hours of operation are Mon.-Fri. 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. ET) or log on to www.eldercare.gov.
(Editor's Note: The information on this Web page is current as of March 8, 2012. Please visit Benefits QuickLINK for the most up-to-date information.)
Use the navigational menu to learn more about the tools and resources that will help low-income Americans age 50 and over regain control of their financial stability.
Programs & Services
(Marketwatch, April 2) - A new survey by the Insured Retirement Institute notes a marked drop in the last two years in boomers' confidence that they are saving enough for retirement. Read
(Marketplace, March 27) - Recent studies indicate that 50+ Americans now carry more credit card debt than those under 50, the first time for such a swing. And a good portion of that debt comes from older Americans helping out struggling relatives. Read
(Huffington Post, March 21) - In her most recent blog, Sara Rix, senior strategic policy advisor with the AARP Public Policy Institute, notes that although many older Americans want to keep working, challenges such as ill health, job loss and caregiving responsibilities often still stand in the way; however, ongoing improvements in employment options continue to make "working close to forever" highly appealing. Read