2008-06-13 / Columnists

Social Security And You

This Father's Day, Help Your Dad Save $3,600
By Guest Columnist Michael J. Astrue Commissioner of Social Security

It may be that your father has always been there to provide advice, whether he was showing you how to throw the perfect pitch or cast a fishing line.

Maybe he told you how to dress for your job interview or encouraged you to save for financial goals in your life, such as a car, a house and retirement.

Now it's your turn to give your dad a bit of helpful advice that he can take all the way to the bank. Show him now he can save as much as $3,600 per year on the cost of prescription drugs.

We all know the high cost of medicine can be a burden on fathers who have limited income and resources. But there is extra help that could be worth up to $3,600 per year.

To figure out whether your father is eligible for the extra help, he must be receiving Medicare and also have:

Income limited to $15,600 for an individual or $21,000 for a married couple living together. Even if his annual income is higher, he 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 he or his spouse:

Support other family members who live with them;

Have earnings from work; or

Live in Alaska or Hawaii

Resources limited to $11,990 for an individual or $23,970 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. We do not count his house and car as resources.

Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that you can help complete for your dad. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov. To apply by phone or have an application mailed to you, call Social Security at 800-772-1213 (TTY 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.

To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods, visit www.medi care.gov or call 800-MEDICARE (800-663-4227; TTY 877-486-2048).

So this Father's Day, give your day a bit of advice and help him save up to $3,600 a year on his prescription drugs.

He'll appreciate the tip as much as you appreciate him.

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