How Seniors Can Get Help Paying for Prescription Drugs

get help paying for prescription drugs

Seniors can get help paying for prescription drugs

When older adults aren’t able to afford their prescriptions, they can’t follow the doctor’s instructions and take necessary medication.

To get help paying for prescription drugs, Social Security has a program called Extra Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Costs. It pays for costs related to a Medicare prescription drug plan.

Seniors could get an extra $5,000 per year, significantly improving health and quality of life by making sure they can get the medications they need.

People who qualify for the program will have low or no annual deductible, low or no monthly premiums, no “Medicare donut hole” coverage gap, and will pay much less for prescriptions.

We explain who qualifies for the Extra Help program and the 3 ways for seniors to apply.




Who qualifies for the Extra Help program

To qualify for Extra Help, seniors must:

  • Be on Medicare Part A and/or Part B
  • Live in one of the 50 states or in the District of Columbia
  • Have combined assets (like bank accounts, investments) less than $14,790 (individual or not living with spouse) or $29,520 (married living with spouse) – don’t include your home, vehicles, possessions, life insurance, burial plots/contracts, or back payments for Social Security or SSI
  • Have annual income less than $19,320 (individual) or $26,130 (married living with spouse)

Even if your older adult’s annual income is higher than these guidelines, they may still be able to qualify for some help.

Apply online or speak with a Social Security representative.


Some seniors automatically qualify for Extra Help

Seniors who have Medicare and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicare and Medicaid will automatically get the extra help so they don’t need to apply.


3 ways to apply for the Extra Help program

For older adults who are eligible, there are three ways to apply for Extra Help:

  1. Apply online at
  2. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to apply over the phone or to request an application
  3. Apply at the local Social Security office

After Social Security reviews the application, your older adult will get a letter to let them know if they qualify and, if they do, what to do next to start getting benefits.

Note: Caregivers can get more information on how to help seniors apply here


Seniors could get back some of what was already spent on prescriptions

Once they’re in the Extra Help program, some older adults might even be able to get back part of what they already spent on prescriptions since they qualified.

Keep the receipts and call the plan or contact Medicare’s Limited Income Newly Eligible Transition (NET) Program at 1-800-783-1307 to find out more.


Next Step  Apply for the Extra Help program to get help with prescription drug costs


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Discount Drug Network


This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


  • Reply May 11, 2021

    Teresa Brown

    I received the so called “Extra Help” and it is still the same price with the deductibles even if they do cover it. It sucks so don’t fall for the avalanche of calls text and emails you receive. there is no help for seniors unless you are welfare

  • Reply November 25, 2020

    Bette Davis

    I’m a 68 year woman in need of an antibiotic called Tobi. I am one of the oldest survivors in Texas with Cystic Fibrosis. I cannot pay the deductible of 1000.00 to get this medicine. And I need it badly. I have a lung infection. I don’t know what to do. If you could point me in the right direction for help, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks…. Bette Davis.

  • Reply November 25, 2019


    If you are three dollars over the Extra Help income limit they will not help you.

  • Reply October 8, 2019


    Wow what a great site to land on and so much great information.. I have bee6so frustrated on who or what to to help me these high copays on have.. Never have had such high copays even when I was working and now I see a light at the end of my tunnel

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