Thursday, June 16, 2022

What Is Extra Help From Social Security

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What Assets Are Included

Low Income Subsidy and Extra Help Through Social Security | SES Senior Enrollment Solutions

Your assets include money that you have across all types of savings accounts, checking accounts, and investment accounts. Make sure to consider your retirement accounts like an IRA or 401, as well any stocks or bonds you own. Real estate that you own other than your primary residence also counts toward your total assets in most cases.

Your assets do not include your home, a car, a burial plot, furniture, or any other personal items. Life insurance policies are excluded and you can subtract $1,500 per person for burial expenses. You donât have to include any advance tax credits you get, such as for the earned income tax credit, or money you received for housing assistance. You can find a complete list of exemptions on the SSA website.

How Much Will I Receive From Ssi

Each year, there’s a standard federal benefit for SSI. In 2020, the amounts are $783 per month for individuals or $1,175 per month for married couples.

However, you have to reduce those amounts by the countable income calculated above. Again, though, people in some states can end up getting more than these amounts if the state government adds extra benefits on top of the federal amount.

Apply For Food Benefits

Many seniors aren’t taking advantage of all the food assistance available to them, experts say.

A 2015 study found that less than half of eligible seniors participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

“For seniors, there tends to be a lot of misunderstanding about the program and a lot of stigma, and unfortunately that stands in the way of people seeking help,” said Josh Protas, vice president of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

The extra money can go a long way for retirees on a fixed income: The maximum benefit a month for a household of one is $250. Grocery stores, online retailers and farmers markets accept the funds.

SNAP has rules around how much you can own in assets and earn in income to get the aid, and Social Security checks are factored in. Still, certain expenses, including your rent and child care costs, may be deducted, and experts say anyone who suspects they could qualify should apply.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also has the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, under which certain low-income people over the age of 60 are eligible for a monthly food package, containing fruits, vegetables, cheeses and more.

Meanwhile, retirees covered by a Medicaid health plan benefit may be eligible for free food through Mom’s Meals. And some Medicare Advantage health plans offer meal benefits under the program for those recently discharged from a hospital or dealing with a chronic disease.

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How To Qualify For Medicare Extra Help

Sounds great, right? It is, but not everyone is eligible for Extra Help. To qualify, Medicare beneficiaries must:

  • Reside in the United States and be enrolled in or eligible for a Part D prescription drug plan.
  • Meet the resource limits. For 2022, the Extra Help resource limits are $15,510 for an individual or $30,950 for a married couple living together. Resources means bank accounts, real estate other than the primary residence, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs, and cash. This does not include primary residences, vehicles, personal possessions, life insurance policies, and burial expenses.
  • Meet the income limit for Medicare Extra Help.The Medicare Extra Help income limits for 2022 are annual incomes below $19,320 for individuals or $26,130 combined for married couples. In this case, income does not include food stamps, housing assistance, home energy assistance, medical treatment and drugs, disaster assistance, tax credit payments, assistance from others, victims compensation payments, scholarships, and education grants. Beneficiaries who earn more can still qualify if they:
  • Support other family members who live with them
  • Have other earnings from work
  • Live in Alaska or Hawaii

What Are The Benefits Of Extra Help

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Extra Help applies to your choice of Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage. For qualifying beneficiaries, Extra Help provides:

  • Part D premium subsidies up to 100% of the cost of benchmark Part D premiums in your area.

  • Reduced or eliminated Part D deductibles.

  • Caps on prescription drug copays as low as $1.35 for generics and $4 for brand-name medications.

In some cases, if you dont qualify for the full benefits, you can still receive partial benefits on a sliding scale according to your income and resources.

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Boost Your Earnings By $500 A Month

The social security system isn’t universal – instead, your future benefits will depend on your earnings history, among other factors.

In other words, the more money you earn on average, the higher your monthly benefit will be.

However, the incremental amount of additional benefits gets smaller as your wages go up.

To get your monthly benefit check, the Social Security Administration calculates 90% of the first $996 of average monthly earnings.

It then calculates 32% of earnings below $996 and $6,002, plus 15% of any income above $6,002.

To get $1,650 in monthly benefits, you’ll need to have average earnings of about $76,000.

This works out as a $500 boost to your monthly earnings in order to get an extra $100 in social security a month.

Medicare Extra Help Income Limits

  • Extra Help can help you pay for Medicare Part D if you have limited income and resources.
  • Part D is the part of Medicare that covers prescription drugs.
  • As an individual, you must make less than $19,320 and have less than $14,790 in resources to qualify.
  • If youre married, you and your spouse will need to make less than $26,130 in total income and have less than $29,520 in combined resources.

If you need help paying for the costs of your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you might qualify for assistance through a program called Extra Help. To qualify for Extra Help, you need to meet certain financial requirements.

Read on to learn about Medicares Extra Help program, including this years income limits, how to qualify, enrollment information, and more.

When you have a Medicare Part D plan, youre responsible for monthly premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance amounts.

Medicare Extra Help can help you pay some or all of those costs.

The program is overseen by the Social Security Administration and is based on income. The SSA estimates that program participants can save as much as $5,000 per year.

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What Is Not Counted Toward Income Limit

Medicare does not count certain kinds of payment or assistance towards the income limit for Medicare Extra Help.

Typically, payments from the federal or local governments do not count. For example:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps
  • housing assistance
  • earned income tax credit payments
  • disaster assistance
  • victim compensation payments
  • scholarships and education grants

Medicare also does not count any money that someone else provides to help towards an individualâs household expenses.

Proof You Have Medicaid And Live In An Institution Or Get Home

  • A bill from an institution . Or, a copy of a state document showing Medicaid paid for your stay for at least a month.
  • A print-out from your states Medicaid system showing you lived in the institution for at least a month.
  • A document from your state that shows you have Medicaid and are getting home- and community-based services.

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Applying For Extra Help If You Qualify Automatically

You receive Extra Help with Medicare costs automatically if you have Medicare and also have or participate in:

  • Medicaid
  • Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly
  • Medicare Savings Programs
  • Supplemental Security Income benefits

If you automatically qualify for Extra Help, you still must fill out an application through the Social Security Administration , using either the agencys print or online application in the SSA website, or at your local Medicaid office.

If Youre A Family Member Caregiver Or Other Third Party

You can help Medicare beneficiaries apply for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. If you assist someone with the application, you must answer the questions as if that person were completing the application. To find out if someone is eligible, Social Security will need to know the value of his or her savings, investments, real estate , as well as income. The SSA needs information about whomever you are helping and his or her spouse, if they are married and living together. The information in our To prepare: section, and The records youll need are: section, can help you with the application.You can help someone apply for Extra Help online by visiting the SSA website or calling the toll-free number to request the Application for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs . You also can visit your local Social Security office for assistance.

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Do You Qualify For Extra Social Security Benefits

All workers who have earned 40 credits — where one credit is defined as $1,470 per month in 2021, and you may earn a maximum of four credits per year — qualify for Social Security retirement benefits when they turn 62, as well as disability benefits if a disability leaves them unable to work. But certain retirees need a little more help than others. That’s where Supplemental Security Income comes in.

These are additional benefits paid to certain workers and retirees to help them cover their essential expenses. You may qualify for these benefits if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a U.S. citizen or resident alien who isn’t subject to an active warrant for deportation.
  • You’re a resident of one of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., or the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • You’re not absent from the U.S. for a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days or more during the year.
  • You’re not confined to an institution at the government’s expense.
  • You’ve applied for other cash benefits you may be eligible for, like Social Security retirement benefits and pensions.
  • You have limited income.
  • You are 65 or older, blind, or disabled.

Most of these requirements are pretty straightforward, except for what constitutes limited income. The easiest way to check if your income is low enough to qualify is to take five minutes to use the Benefit Eligibility Screener Tool. This will tell you about all types of Social Security benefits you qualify for.

Handy Tips For Filling Out Extra Help Application Form Online

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Can You Automatically Qualify For Extra Help

You can automatically qualify for Extra Help if you already receive assistance from another government program, including:

As a participant of one of these programs, youll still need to be enrolled in both parts of original Medicare, but you wont need to apply separately or submit income information again. Youll be automatically qualified for the Extra Help program.

How To Apply For Medicare Extra Help

Lots of Medicare enrollees are eligible for Extra Help, but many dont know about the program or dont apply.

There are three ways to apply for the Extra Help program:

  • Use the online application on the Social Security Administration website.
  • Apply in person at your local Social Security office.

If you are approved for Extra Help, there is one more step: choosing a prescription drug plan if you dont already have one. If you dont choose a plan, Medicare will assign one to you randomly. Choosing your own drug plan allows you to get coverage sooner.

For help choosing a plan, check out our Guide to Medicare Part D.

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How Do You Apply For Ssi Benefits

You can apply for SSI benefits in any of these ways:

  • Applying online through the Social Security Administration website
  • Contacting the Social Security Administration by phone
  • Visiting your local Social Security Administration office

It’s important to apply as soon as possible to get as much from SSI as you can. The program doesn’t pay benefits for any time before your application, even if you technically qualified for them.

You will need documents proving your identity, like your Social Security number and birth certificate. You’ll also have to prove your income. If you’re not sure what documents you need, contact the Social Security Administration to find out. It’s best to have as much of this documentation in order before you apply to speed the process along. But if you can’t track down some information, the Social Security Administration may be able to help you do so.

Those who are applying for benefits because they are blind or disabled will need to provide medical information proving this. If you don’t currently have a medical exam or test documenting your disability, the Social Security Administration will pay for you to receive this test. In some cases, it may also pay for your travel costs to get to the exam.

Social Security Benefits Extra Help

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Medicare beneficiaries can qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $5000 per year.

To qualify for Extra Help: You must reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia Your resources must be limited to $14,790 for an individual or $29,520 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. We do not count your home, car, or any life insurance policy as resources and your annual income must be limited to $19,320 for an individual or $26,130 for a married couple living together. Even if your annual income is higher, you still may be able to get some help.

Some examples where you may have higher income and still qualify for Extra Help include if you or your spouse:

Support other family members who live with you

Have earnings from work or

Live in Alaska or Hawaii.

Social Security has an easytouse online application that you can help complete for your love one. In fact, anyone family members, friends and caregivers can help complete an application.

Eligible beneficiaries can also apply by phone at 18007721213 . Or go to the nearest local Social Security office.

Recommended Reading: Social Security Benefit Tables

How Are Income Limits Set

The government uses the federal poverty level to set its income limits. The level is set for each state every year, depending on the cost of living and average income.

The income limit for Medicare Extra Help changes in line with the federal poverty level.

If a person has a higher income, they may still qualify depending on circumstance. Examples include those who live in Alaska or Hawaii or those who support a dependent family member.

People may qualify for either full or partial Extra Help, depending on their income and assets.

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