By Ellen Zwierzynski, Social Security District Manager in Elizabeth
If you’ve been thinking about applying for extra help with your Medicare prescription drug costs, then now’s the time to get on the dance floor and hop to it.
Chubby Checker, the Grammy Award winning rock and roll legend most known for his hit, “The Twist,” has teamed up with Michael J. Astrue, commissioner of Social Security, to tell people about a new “twist” in the law. The change in the law makes it easier for people with Medicare to qualify for extra help with their prescription drug costs.
“The changes in the Medicare law will allow hundreds of thousands of Americans who are struggling to pay their prescription drug costs to get extra help during these tough economic times,” said Astrue. “I am thrilled that Chubby Checker has volunteered to help us spread this important message through a new television, radio, and Internet spot as well as pamphlets and posters.”
“Listen up, America! For 50 years, people of all ages and backgrounds have danced the Twist,” Chubby Checker said. “Now it’s important everyone learn about this new twist in the law. Check it out at www.socialsecurity.gov.”
There are income and resource limits a person needs to meet to qualify for the extra help. But the new Medicare law eases those requirements in two ways:
- The cash value of life insurance no longer counts as a resource; and
- Assistance people receive from others to pay for household expenses, such as food, rent, mortgage, or utilities, no longer counts as income.
A bonus “twist” is that the application you file for extra help can now start the application process for Medicare Savings Programs as well — state programs that provide help with other Medicare costs. These programs help pay Medicare Part B (medical insurance) premiums. For some people, the Medicare Savings Programs also pay Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) premiums, if any, and Part A and B deductibles and co-payments.
To learn more about the extra help program and to view the new television spot featuring Chubby Checker, visit Social Security online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp.
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