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Low-Income Subsidy - Medicare Extra Help Program

The Medicare low-income subsidy, also known as the Medicare Extra Help program, is a government program that helps pay for Medicare Part D prescription drug costs. It provides extra help to pay for the monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-payments related to Medicare Part D. If you have limited income, you may qualify for this program which can grant an estimated savings of $4,000 per year.

Am I eligible for the Medicare Extra Help program?

You may be eligibile for the low-income subsidy available under Medicare Part D if the following apply:

  • You have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and/or Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance); and
  • You live in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia; and
  • Your combined assets (savings, investments, and real estate) are not worth more than:
    • $27,250, if you are married and living with your spouse, or
    • $13,640 if you are not currently married or not living with your spouse.

    When calculating your combined assets, do NOT count your home, vehicles, personal possessions, life insurance, burial plots, irrevocable burial contracts or back payments from Social Security or SSI.

Please note: If you have Medicare and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) OR Medicare and Medicaid you will automatically receive the Extra Help. You do not need to fill out the application form.

How do I apply for the Extra Help?

Many people are eligible for the Extra Help and do not realize it. Therefore, it does not hurt to fill out the application to see if you are eligible. To apply for the Medicare low-income subsidy, you must fill out the “Application for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs” (SSA-1020) form with Social Security. You can apply and submit this form in the following ways:

  • Applying online at
  • Calling Social Security at 1-800-771-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and requesting an application be mailed to you
  • Applying in person at your local Social Security office.

You also may be able to get help from your State with other Medicare costs under the Medicare Savings Programs. By completing the application, you will also start the application process for a Medicare Savings Program. Social Security will send information to your State, who will then contact you to help you apply for a Medicare Savings Program unless you request not to apply for the Medicare Savings Program.

After you submit your application for Medicare Extra Help, Social Security will review it and mail you a notification if you are eligible.

Last Updated 8/25/2015