Can I Get ‘Extra Help’ With Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs?

The Medicare Part D Prescription Drug ‘Extra Help’ Program was created by the Social Security Administration to help people with limited income pay for their medication. Recipients of Extra Help pay lower drug premiums, copayments and deductibles. 

As a member of Medicare, you are entitled to purchase a Prescription Drug plan. And, if you have limited resources, you may be entitled to receive help paying for monthly premiums, annual deductibles and copayments. Many people are unaware that they qualify for Extra Help, and could be missing an opportunity for big savings. Here’s how to find out if you qualify, and some important information on how to apply.

Qualifying for Extra Help

The Social Security Administration determines who qualifies for Extra Help by looking at the value of their total savings, investments, real estate and income.


Bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts and available cash are all considered to determine financial eligibility. While the value of some real estate is considered, your primary residence is not. If you own your home, its value is not considered as part of your total resources. In addition to your home, personal items such as jewelry, furniture and vehicles are not considered. Rental property and life insurance policies are also not included as part of your financial resources.

To be eligible for Full Extra Help, the total of all of these resources together must be less than:

  • $14,610 as an individual
  • $29,160 for married couples 

 Applying for and Receiving Extra Help

If you believe you may qualify for Extra Help, you can apply online, by phone or in person at your local Social Security office. After your application has been reviewed, you will receive a letter by mail informing you if you qualify. In order to receive Extra Help, you will need to provide proof to your Part D plan. A “Notice of Award” from Social Security is documentation that you qualify and proof of eligibility for Extra Help.