Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 12, 2007

By Ronald E. Buffaloe
For The Salisbury Post
On Father’s Day, we celebrate the special men in our lives. There are a number of ways you can show someone you love how much you care. This year, while you’re watching the ball game or spending some quality time together, tell that special someone about something that can really make a difference. Tell them how to get extra help with their Medicare prescription drug costs.The high cost of medicine can be a burden on your loved ones who have limited income and resources. Extra help ó available through Social Security ó can pay part of their monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. The extra help could be worth more than $3,300 per year.
To figure out whether they’re eligible, Social Security needs to know your loved one’s 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 loved one must be receiving Medicare and have:
Income limited to $15,315 for an individual or $20,535 for a married couple living together. Even if their annual income is higher, your loved ones 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 they or their spouse:
– Support other family members who live with them.
– Have earnings from work.
– Live in Alaska or Hawaii.
Resources limited to $11,710 for an individual or $23,410 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.
Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that anyone ó family members, friends and caregivers ó can complete. You can find it at
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 (SSA-1020). Or go to the nearest Social Security office for assistance.
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 this Father’s Day, give someone you care about something special: the peace of mind that comes with knowing extra help is available with Medicare prescription drug costs. Then go one step further ó help them apply. There is no better way to show how much you care.
Ronald E. Buffaloe is Social Security District Manager in Salisbury.