he Mission of the Sun City Community Assistance Network is to, “Connect people with resources to enhance their standard of living.”
In other words, Sun City CAN helps people save money on things like property taxes, income taxes, utilities, Medicare premiums, prescription drugs and other things.
Many benefits go unclaimed simply because people are unaware that the benefits exist. In an effort to shed light on some of the help that is available to low-income seniors, I will write a guest commentary each month about a different senior help program.
Below is a listing of benefits available for low-income seniors that some may not realize are available.
Not knowing is costly
A while back, one of the benefits assistance counselors at Sun City Community Assistance Network interviewed a couple in their 80s to determine what benefits they might be eligible for.
It turned out that both husband and wife were eligible for free Medicare but, of course, they did not know that they were eligible for free Medicare. For the past 15 years or more, the Part B premiums had been deducted every month from their Social Security checks. Today, the Part B premium for most people is $170.10.
Can you imagine how much extra money this couple would have received in Social Security payments over the years if they had only known they were eligible for free Medicare and applied when they were 65 years old? Probably somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000. Plus, they would have automatically been enrolled in the Extra Help With Prescription Drugs part of Medicare and saved thousands of dollars more on prescriptions over the years.
Many low-income seniors are unaware that there are programs available to help them pay their Medicare premiums. These are called Medicare Savings Programs and there are several different ones. These programs are especially beneficial to widows and widowers who are living almost entirely on Social Security.
If your monthly income is less than $1,529 for a single person or $2,060 for a married couple, there is no premium payment required. Medicare is free! Your Social Security check will increase by the amount of your Part B premium, which is now $170.10 per month. Generally, there are no limits on ownership of a house, auto or other resources.
To find out if you’re eligible for free Medicare or to find out if you are eligible for other benefits, please call Sun City Community Assistance Network at 623-933-7530 and schedule an appointment with a benefits assistance counselor. They will be happy to assist you in filling out forms and submitting them.
Hugh Duncan is Sun City Community Assistance Network board president.