Extra Help program for people on Medicare

With the Extra Help program, you can get help to pay for the out-of-pocket costs related to your Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Program benefits

A little extra help can go a long way

Also known as the Low-Income Subsidy, the Extra Help program is run by the
Social Security Administration and designed to help people on Medicare drug plans
pay for the monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and copays related to their
prescription medications.

While the program may not cover your out-of-pocket costs entirely, enrolling in the
program can significantly reduce what you pay for your medications.

If you have a PAN grant

While your PAN grant covers the out-of-pocket medication costs for a specific diagnosis, Extra Help covers prescription medications for any condition. The Extra Help program can dramatically reduce your out-of-pocket costs, especially if you take multiple medications.

Extra Help program

Extra Help covers almost all costs for the people who are eligible. People with Medicare who also qualify for their state’s Medicaid program are automatically enrolled.

People eligible for Extra Help in 2024 have less than $22,590 in individual annual income ($1,883 per month) or less than $30,660 in annual income as a couple ($2,555 per month).

Extra Help benefits

  • No monthly premium
  • No annual deductible
  • Copay is no more than $11.20 (for brand name drugs)

Find out if you qualify

You might be eligible if you have an annual income under $22,590 ($1,883 per month) and have less than $17,220 in assets. However, there are some exceptions. 

Your assets may include bank accounts, savings bonds, mutual funds, and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Include the things you own by yourself, with your spouse, or with someone else. Do not count your home, vehicles, personal possessions, life insurance, burial plots, irrevocable burial contracts, or back payments from Social Security or SSI. 

Find out if you might be eligible for benefits below. 

DISCLAIMER: This quiz does not replace the official enrollment process. Those that may be eligible for Extra Help will need to apply through the Social Security Administration. Eligibility does not guarantee enrollment into the program.

How to apply

Applying for this program will require you to gather a variety of financial 
documents and take some time, but the application is free. 

What you need

When you fill out the application for the Extra Help program, the Social Security
Administration will request information about your income and resources, as well as
for the income and resources of your spouse if you are married and living together.

Here is an example of the questions they will ask. You can start the online application process, save your work, and finish it another time. Family members, caregivers, and other third parties can help you fill out the Extra Help application.

To answer these questions you’ll have to collect many documents and consider what
things you own alone, with your spouse, or with someone else.

While this may be overwhelming, the program helps you save a lot of money.
We’ve included a helpful checklist that you can use, print out, or email to yourself
below to help you get organized.

When you can apply

You can apply to the Extra Help program once each year, at any time.

Where to apply

If you want to apply directly

Contact the Social Security Administration who operates the Extra Help program.
Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit their website.

If you need help with your application

State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) provide free help to people with
Medicare and their families, including help with applying to the Extra Help program.
You can call toll-free 877-839-2675 or visit their website.

After applying

You won’t be asked for proof to support the information you provide in your Extra Help
program application. However, the information will be compared with data from other
government agencies to make sure the numbers match. After you apply, the Social
Security Administration will review your application and will send you a letter in six
weeks to let you know if you qualify for Extra Help.

How to stay enrolled

You have to continue to meet eligibility requirements to stay enrolled in the Extra Help
program each year. Here’s an overview of what will happen.