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Are there government benefits for seniors who are legal US residents?

My dad is 90 years old and a legal resident. He is paying for private insurance but I was wondering if he is eligible for any government benefits. He has his social security number and green card and has been a legal resident since 1986.
Status: Open    May 19, 2015 - 01:35 AM

Finance, Elder Law

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Jul 09, 2015 - 10:52 AM

Below are a couple of tools I utilize with my clients to help address these questions....

One place to check quickly to see if he is eligible for Medicare is to go to the Medicare.gov website. In the "Getting Started with Medicare" under "Sign up for Medicare" there is a hyperlink to "find out if you are eligible". This link will ask a few questions and help you determine if and when he may be eligible for coverage. The key is whether he has paid Medicare taxes and for how long. Below is what one can expect if he did not work for at least 10 years in the United States and currently does not have a Part A of Medicare per the online estimator:

· You're eligible to sign up for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance).

· You may not be able to get premium-free Part A (Hospital Insurance) based on the work history of you or your spouse (living, deceased or divorced). You can buy Part A for a monthly premium.

· If you paid Medicare taxes for less than 30 quarters, the standard Part A premium will be $407.00. If you paid Medicare taxes for 30-39 quarters, the standard Part A premium will be $224.00. Some people pay a higher premium if they don't enroll when they're first eligible.

· Most people pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B is $104.90 in 2015. Some people pay a higher premium based on their income or if they don't enroll when they're first eligible.

When can I sign up?

· If you didn't sign up for Part A and/or Part B when you were first eligible, you can sign up during the General Enrollment Period between January 1 and March 31 each year. Your coverage will start July 1.

· You may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for not enrolling when you were first eligible.

As to government benefits, another tool to use to see what assistance he may be eligible for from the state, federal and private benefits programs is benefitscheckup.org. There are benefits programs that can help pay for prescriptions, health care, food, utilities, legal issues, tax relief and more and this tool will help one determine what they may be eligible for.

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