I should take my own advice.

When these newspapers carried an article reminding folks who have (and pay for) Medicare Part B, at $94.50 a month, that they may not have to pay that premium if their monthly income is less than $1,604, it caught my attention and I repeated some of the article in this column.

What I didn’t pay attention to was the fact that this applied to me.

Over the past year my income has diminished just enough make me eligible. Only when I was on the Internet at the National Council of Aging’s Web site, www.ncoa.org, specifically the benefit checklist, did I realize I could qualify.

This isn’t just going to magically happen. An application has to be completed and after a couple of calls to the state Bureau of Elder Services, they told me that if anyone wants to make out an application, forms are available through Elders One (or Elders1). Call the bureau toll-free in Maine at (877) 353-3771. They’re going to mail me a form and I suggest that you check this out if you feel you may qualify.

Southern Maine Agency on Aging has a great benefit checklist. It will be updated in October, but the following is the current list, as of August. You may find a program for which you or a friend or relative may qualify. For more information, call SMAA at 396-6500.

Benefit checklist (for Maine) revised in August, courtesy www.smaaa.org

Single /one-person household:

• My monthly income is less than $1,603 and I am 62 or am disabled – you are probably eligible for the Low Cost Drug Program.

• My monthly income is less than $1,404 and I am at least age 60. I have less than $3,000 in cash assets – you may be eligible for food stamps.

• My monthly income is less than $1,473 and I am at least age 60 – you may be eligible for Home Energy Assistance Program. Income limit can be increased by adding out-of-pocket medical costs.

• My monthly income is less than $1,678 and I am enrolled in Medicare – you may be eligible for Qualified Individual-1 or, if less than $1,548 Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary.

• My monthly income is less than $1,375 and I am enrolled in Medicare – you may be eligible for Qualified Medicare Beneficiary.

• My monthly income is less than $942 and I am at least age 65 or am disabled. I have less than $10,000 in cash and interest-bearing bank accounts – you may be eligible for MaineCare.

• My monthly income is less than $637 and I am at least age 65 or am disabled and have less than $2,000 in cash and interest-bearing accounts – you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.

• My monthly income is less than $1,300, I receive Social Security and Medicare, and I have assets below $11,990 – you may be eligible for Social Security extra help in paying for prescriptions through a benefit program for those receiving MaineCare.

Couple/two-person household:

Our monthly income is less than $2,158 and one of us is older than 62 or we are disabled – you are probably eligible for the Low Cost Drug Program.

Our monthly income is less than $1,883 and one of us is at least age 60. We have less than $3,000 in cash assets – you may be eligible for food stamps.

Our monthly income is less than $1,983 and one of us is at least age 60 – you may be eligible for Home Energy Assistance Program. Income limit can be increased by adding out-of-pocket medical costs.

Our monthly income is less than $2,258 and we are enrolled in Medicare. You may be eligible for Qualified Individual-1 or, if less than $2,083, Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary.

Our monthly income is less than $1,850 and we are enrolled in Medicare. You may be eligible for Qualified Medicare Beneficiary.

Our monthly income is less than $1,267 and we are at least age 65 or are disabled. We have less than $15,000 in cash and interest-bearing bank accounts – you may be eligible for MaineCare.

Our monthly income is less than $956 we are at least age 65 or are disabled, and have less than $3,000 in cash and interest-bearing accounts – you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.

Our monthly income is less than $1,750, we receive Social Security and Medicare, and our assets are less than $23,970 – you may be eligible for extra help from Social Security to pay for prescriptions through a benefit program for those receiving Medicare.


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