Many seniors and individuals with disabilities enrolled in Medicare contact agencies for assistance because they are having financial problems. They might ask for help applying for SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) and they receive help with that Food Assistance program.
However as the old saying goes that is “only part of the story.” Many if not all of these same clients qualify for Medicare subsidies through the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), which can save the client over $104.00 per month (Medicare Part B premium) and more (over $1,200 dollars a year increase in their social security retirement check).
Applying for extra help or the Low Income Subsidy Program (LIS) will lower the co-pay at the pharmacy because we know seniors and individuals with disabilities struggle to pay for medications. This LIS/extra help benefit is estimated to be a $4,000 a year benefit.
Given that, we find that many folks just don’t ask. They simply only ask for food assistance. Many do not also apply for medically needy share of cost and can lose their home due to Medical/hospital bills. Let’s expand the help they receive!
To help these individuals, aged 60 and older apply for benefits that will save them money, making contact with the Statewide Area Agency on Aging Helpline is the first step. By calling 1-800-963-5337, they will be connected to the Area Agency on Aging in their county of residence and assisted with the application process, free of charge.
Our Serving the Health Insurance Needs of the Elderly (SHINE) Volunteers are ready to assist! They also might learn of other valuable programs that can help them live independently for as long as possible.
A financial assistance example
The SHINE Program was able to assist a married couple in their 70s, struggling with finances and in the process of planning for their 50-year-old son’s future due to his developmental disability. SHINE was able to enroll this couple with low-income and limited assets into two Medicare subsidies.
The Low Income Subsidy (LIS) helped with the medication cost savings and the Medicare Savings Plan (MSP), placed the Part B premium back into this couple’s monthly social security check. This couple ended up saving approximately $6,000 annually.