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This Mother's Day, show someone how much you care

John Vogt • May 11, 2007 at 9:12 AM

On Mother's Day, we celebrate special people in our lives. There are a number of ways we can show our mothers and grandmothers how much we care. (And, at the same time their spouses). So consider doing something for them early next week that can really make a difference. Show them how to get extra help with their Medicare prescription drug costs.

The high cost of medicine can be a burden on our loved ones who have limited income and resources. Extra help - available through Social Security - can pay part of their monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. The extra help could be worth an average of $3,700 per year.

To figure out if they may be eligible, Social Security needs to know your loved one's income and the value of their savings, investments and real estate (other than the home they live in). To qualify for the extra help, your loved one must be receiving Medicare and have income limited to $15,315 for an individual or $20,535 for a married couple living together. Even if their annual income is higher, your loved ones still may be able to get some help with monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments.

Some examples where income may be higher include if they or their spouse: -Support other family members who live with them; -Have earnings from work; - Have resources limited to $11,710 for an individual or $23,410 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. We do not count their house and car as resources.

Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that anyone - family members, friends and caregivers - can complete. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov. To apply by phone or get an application, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. In Kingsport you can call (423) 247-9820 and ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs. You can also visit our office at 2401 South Wilcox Drive and just pick the form up. If you need help completing the 15 simple questions on the form, who wouldn't be happy to help someone's precious mother!

To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

So this Mother's Day, give someone you love something special: The peace of mind that comes with knowing extra help is available with Medicare prescription drug costs. Then go one step further - help them apply. There is no better way to show how much you care.

Question: Now that my own kids are grown, I plan to start working full time as a babysitter. Can I get Social Security coverage for work in another person's household?

Answer: Yes. If you are a household worker, your wages are covered under Social Security as long as you earn $1,500 or more in a calendar year (including cash for transportation expenses) unless you were under age 18 during any part of the year and household work is not your main job. Household workers include babysitters, maids, cooks, laundry workers, butlers, gardeners, chauffeurs, people who do housecleaning or repair work or anyone employed in or around someone else's home.

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