Medicare Extra Help Program Income Limits

If you are a Medicare Part D beneficiary struggling with the cost of prescription drugs, Extra Help may be the assistance you need. Extra Help is a low-income subsidy that offsets the cost of prescription drugs on your Medicare Part D plan. If your resources are below a certain threshold, you may qualify for assistance. Below, we help you understand how this program works with Medicare Part D, who is eligible, and how to apply.

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Extra Help with Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs

The Extra Help program assists people with limited resources and lower incomes in paying for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

Receiving Extra Help with your Medicare Part D can:

  • Eliminate the Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty
  • Reduce your out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs
  • Eliminate your monthly Medicare Part D premiums
  • Reduce or eliminate your annual Medicare Part D deductible
  • Eliminate the coverage gap, also known as the donut hole

As Extra Help removes the donut hole, your prescriptions will not cost more when you exceed the annual spending limit. The program saves beneficiaries nearly $5,000 in Medicare Part D costs per year.

If you are eligible for Medicaid or any of the following Medicare Savings Programs, you automatically qualify.

With Extra Help, each generic prescription costs no more than $4.15, and each brand-name prescription does not cost more than $10.35.

If you did not enroll in Medicare Part D when you first became eligible, you do not have to pay the late enrollment penalty if approved for the program. Approval waives this cost if you would otherwise owe the penalty.

What are the Medicare Extra Help Income and Resource Limits for 2022?

In 2022, the annual income limit for Extra Help for an individual is $20,625. For a married couple living together, the limit is $27,705. When calculating your income, governmental assistance such as food stamps, housing assistance, and home energy assistance do not negatively impact you.

You should apply if you think you qualify but your income exceeds the limits. You may still be eligible for Extra Help when your income is over the limit in some scenarios. These cases include when you or your spouse:

  • Provide financial support for other family members currently living with you
  • Earn money by working
  • Reside in Alaska or Hawaii

Resource limits also apply when determining your eligibility. To be eligible for partial Extra Help, your resources must be equal to or below $15,510 as an individual or $30,950 with burial expenses as a married couple living together. Without burial expenses, the resource limit for an individual is $14,010 and $27,950 for a married couple.

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To receive full Extra Help benefits, the resource limit with burial expenses for an individual is $9,900 and $15,600 for a married couple. Without burial expenses, the resource limit for an individual to receive full Extra Help benefits is $8,400 and $12,600 for a couple.

The following examples count as resources:

  • Real estate (primary residence excluded)
  • Money in bank accounts (checking, saving)
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • Any cash

The following do not count as resources:

  • Your primary residence
  • Vehicle(s)
  • Your personal belongings
  • Burial expenses
  • Interest on money slated for use as burial expenses

Contact Social Security for a comprehensive list of excluded resources.

Medicare Extra Help Limits 2022 Chart

The chart below displays the general limits for Extra Help with Medicare Part D in 2022. Still, individuals with higher income and resources may qualify for partial assistance in some circumstances.

Extra Help Level Marital Rights 2022 Extra Help Resource Limit 2022 Extra Help Limit with Burial Expenses 2022 Extra Help Income
Full Single $8,400 $9,900 $20,625
Full Married $12,600 $15,600 $27,705
Partial Single $14,010 $15,510 $20,625
Partial Married $27,950 $30,950 $27,705

Levels of Extra Help

If your income and resources are more significant than the limits above, you can still qualify for partial Extra Help. With Extra Help, there are levels of assistance that depend on your income and resources.

You can mail your Extra Help qualification letter to your Medicare Part D plan to help verify the level of Extra Help for which you qualify. Those dual-eligible to receive Medicare and Medicaid qualify for full Extra Help.

Applying for Extra Help with Medicare

To apply for Extra Help, you can fill out Form SSA-1020 on the Social Security website. You can also call Social Security to apply over the phone or visit your local Social Security office to apply in person.

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Social Security will mail a letter to you informing you whether you qualify. You can choose a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan after becoming eligible for Extra Help. If you do not yet qualify, you can still look for a Medicare Part D plan that fits your budget and includes your prescriptions on the formulary.

FAQs About Extra Help with Medicare Part D

What does Extra Help mean in Medicare?
Extra Help is a program that helps Medicare Part D beneficiaries with the out-of-pocket costs in their prescription drug plan. Your assets must fall under certain limits to receive Extra Help with Medicare Part D. If you already have Medicaid or another Medicare Savings Program, you are automatically entitled to this assistance.
What does Social Security Extra Help pay for?
Extra Help can cover some Medicare Part D costs such as premiums, deductibles, and copayments. Additionally, the program covers the Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty if it applies to you.
Do you have to reapply for Extra Help every year?
Your eligibility will automatically renew every year, and you will receive a notice that states if you still qualify or not.
Is LIS the same as Extra Help?
Yes, Medicare Extra Help is the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy (LIS).

How to Find a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan

Finding the right Medicare Part D plan can be confusing. Our licensed agents are Medicare experts dedicated to putting your needs first. We specialize in finding the best Medicare Part D plans for our clients. Our agents compare how each Medicare Part D plan covers prescriptions and dosages.

We work with beneficiaries nationwide to find the best plan for their needs and budget. Call us today at the number above to compare plans from top-rated carriers. Or, complete our online rate form to compare policies today.

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MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Extra Help, Medicare . Accessed April 2022.
  2. Find Your Level of Extra Help, Medicare . Accessed April 2022.
  3. Prescription Help, SSA . Accessed April 2022.

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

10 thoughts on “Medicare Extra Help Program Income Limits

  1. I’m 73 and currently receiving “Extra Help”. I receive $1323 in Social Security every month. My question is how much money can I earn working (if I get a part time job) and still be able to qualify for “Extra Help”

    1. Philip, the annual income limit for full Extra Help benefits is $20,385 or $27,465 for a married couple. If you excees this income limit, you will not receive full Extra Help benefits.

    1. Scott, Extra Help can end at any time. If you exceed the asset limit, once Social Security receives that information, your Extra Help benefits will end.

    1. Jane, a Roth IRA does count as a resource. If your IRA amount exceeds the limits, you would be ineligible for Extra Help.

  2. Good afternoon,
    I turned 64 years on 27 September 1957. I am a retired Veteran with a 70 % disability awarded in 2020. I use Tricare Prime and reside in Corpus Christi, Tx.
    1. When should I enroll in Medicare?
    2. What plans would I need to have? A or B, D?
    Please advise

    1. Hi Kay – firstly, thank you for your service.

      1) We recommend you enroll in Medicare Parts A and B during your Initial Enrollment Period, around your 65th birthday. Medicare does not consider TRICARE to be creditable coverage for Parts A and B, so you would face late penalties when you eventually enroll in Medicare. When you enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, you’ll automatically enroll in TRICARE For Life (TFL). TFL acts as a wraparound for Medicare and covers certain costs.

      2) Per the above, we recommend you enroll in Parts A and B. If you’ve paid Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters (10 years), you’ll get Part A premium-free. With TFL, you won’t need to buy extra prescription drug coverage for as long as you have TFL, as it is creditable for Part D.


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