Extra Help and SNAP Eligibility Enrollment Flyer

Attention Medicare Beneficiaries Over Age 60 — If You Get Extra Help for Prescription Drugs, then You Can Get Extra Help for Food Costs Too!

Get Extra Help to Pay for Prescription Drugs for People with Medicare

Anyone who has Medicare can get Medicare prescription drug coverage. Some people with limited resources and income may also be able to get Extra Help to pay for the costs—monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments—related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year. Many people qualify for these important savings and don’t even know it.

To qualify for Extra Help:

  1. You must reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia;
  2. Your resources must be limited to $13,640 for an individual or $27,250 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
  3. Your annual income must be limited to $17,820 for an individual or $24,030 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 or you have earnings from work.

Applying for Extra Help is easy. Just complete Social Security’s Application for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020). Here’s how:

  • Apply online at socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp;
  • Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to apply over the phone or to request an application; or
  • Apply at your local Social Security office.
  • Ask the SHINE Health Benefits Counselor at your local Council on Aging for help.

After you apply, Social Security will review your application and send a letter to you to let you know if you qualify for Extra Help. Once you qualify, you can choose a Medicare prescription drug plan. If you don’t select a plan, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will do it for you. The sooner you join a plan, the sooner you begin receiving benefits.  If you aren’t eligible for Extra Help, you still may be able to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan.


Getting Extra Help for Food Costs!   

A SNAP card is like a debit or bank card you can use at grocery stores and farmers markets to buy food. You may get a SNAP card (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) if your gross income (before taxes) is below:

$  1,980/month for 1 person

$  2,670/month for 2 persons

There is NO asset test for most SNAP households.  (Special rules apply for persons with disabilities and elders above these income limits – call DTA to find out more).

Most everyone aged 60+ who is enrolled in the Medicare Extra Help Program for Prescription Drugs can also enroll into SNAP.  SNAP helps to buy fresh fruits, produce and many other food items. And you may qualify for a utility discount too!

Your monthly SNAP benefit will be between $16 and $194. The benefit is based on your income and your living costs. These include your rent or home ownership costs, the type of utilities you have, your caregiver or homemaker costs.  And you may get more SNAP if you can prove your out-of-pocket medical costs, including health care premiums and co-pays, over-the counter health supplies, travel to medical appointments and more.

Three ways to apply for SNAP:

1) Download paper SNAP applications, available in 13 languages;

2) Apply online; OR

3) Go to a local Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) office. See http://www.mass.gov/snap  to learn more or download an application.

You can mail or fax the paper SNAP application to:   DTA Document Processing Center, PO Box 4406, Taunton, MA 02780-0420.    Fax: 617-887-8765.

If you get SNAP now but need help using your food benefits, the Councils on Aging can help arrange a ride to the grocery store, or help you identify a trusted person to food shop. If you lost your EBT card or forgot your PIN, we can also explain how to get that fixed.

Sources:  SSA Publication on Extra Help (2016), Mass Law Reform Institute’s SNAP Training (2016), and the Massachusetts SNAP Application from DTA (2016).

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Massachusetts Councils
on Aging

116 Pleasant Street, Suite 306
Easthampton, MA 01027
Telephone: 413-527-6425
Fax: 413-527-7138