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Medicare Part D Extra Help

If you have been following the Take A Minute for Medicare for the past few months, you may recognize this topic from last June. We are revisiting this topic because the income limits for Medicare Extra Help have changed for 2017.

The Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment) changed by a small percentage for 2017. For some the Social Security increase was as little as $5. But, even this small amount could make a difference in possible eligibility for Part D Extra Help through Social Security. Many people on Medicare may qualify for extra help and don’t know it.

2017 Social Security Extra Help Eligibility

                                   Monthly income Limit                 Asset Limit

Individual                              $1,507.50                              $12,320

Couple                                   $2,030.00                              $24,600

When you are eligible for extra help, you may not have a Medicare Part D premium, deductible, and low copayments in certain prescription drug plans. You will not have a coverage gap (also known as the donut hole) and, if you did not sign up for Part D when you were first eligible and have extra help, you will not have a late enrollment penalty. You will also be able to change your Part D plan at any time.

Extra Help through Social Security may be full or partial help depending upon your income. Social Security will determine the level of Extra Help you qualify to receive.

To find out if you are eligible, go to and apply online, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 toll free, or go in person to any local Social Security office and ask to apply for extra help. Come back next month for more ways to get Extra Help.

For general Medicare questions, call DRW at 1-800-928-8778. For Medicare Part D questions, call the Disability Drug Benefit Helpline at 1-800-926-4862. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), or visit to find out if Medicare covers your test, service, or item.