Getting the Benefits You Need
By: Financial Hotline
Summer 2020 (Vol. 38, No. 2)
Q: I am out of work and need all the help I can get. Where do I look to see what benefits are available to me?
A: Go to www.Benefits.gov to start your search for government benefits by category and agency. Fill out their Benefit Finder questionnaire online to find out what benefits you may qualify for today. You can also learn about and get links to government programs that provide financial help for individuals and organizations at www.usa.gov.
Q: I’m struggling to pay for expensive medications, are there any programs that can help?
A: Many states and counties offer prescription assistance programs. If you participate in Medicare Part D and need financial assistance you may be qualified for the federal benefit program called Extra Help. The Medicare Rights Center—1-800-333-4114—can let you know if you qualify. Here’s some others you can check out:
- Needhelppayingbills.com is a website that also lists state and local assistance programs that you may qualify for.
- NeedyMeds helps people of all ages, with and without insurance, locate Patient Assistance Programs, free/low cost clinics, state programs and offers a free NeedyMeds Drug Discount Card. For more information, you may call their helpline at 800-503-6897.
- Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying people without prescription drug coverage get the medication they need for free or nearly free. They offer access to public and private programs, including pharmaceutical company programs. Website: www. medicineassistancetool.org or Phone: 888-477-2669
- RxAssist helps individuals find information about free and low cost medication programs and other ways to manage your medication cost through their online Patient Assistance Program Center. They also provide a prescription discount card that patients may be able to use even if they have health insurance coverage. Vist online at www.rxassist.org
- RxHope.com provides program descriptions and downloadable applications for prescription assistance programs for specific medications.
- PatientAssistance.com is a nonprofit site that offers money-saving offers such as printable coupons and a searchable database of available patient assistance programs.
- GoodRx (GoodRx.com) allows you to compare drug prices from pharmacies in your area, including big pharmacy chains, local pharmacies and mail order companies.
- Together Rx Access can help qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage save on hundreds of namebrand and generic products and connect patients to resources about coverage options. For more information, call 800-444-4106.
Q: I lost my job and can’t afford health care premiums any longer. Are there any programs that help with insurance premiums?
A: Organizations that may help include:
- Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief at 1-866- 512-3861.
- National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) at 1-800-999-NORD.
- Patient Services Inc. at 1-800-366-7741.
- HealthWell Foundation at 1-800-675-8416.
- Patient Access Network Foundation at 1-866-316-7263.
Q: Where can I find help to pay my rent?
A: www.RentAssistance.US provides a directory of rental assistance agencies and organizations that will help you pay your rent. Some listings are government organizations other are non-profits and charities that offer rental assistance programs. Each organization has its own eligibility rules and conditions and you are encouraged to call directly to find out what you need to do.
Q: I need an attorney but can’t pay the high upfront fees. Are there more affordable options?
A: Under federal rules, if a person is charged with a crime that carries a possible jail sentence, they have the right to a lawyer even if they cannot afford one. They will then be able to make use of a court-appointed public defender. However, if one is charged in a civil case such as divorce, there is no entitlement to a lawyer. This is where a lawyer that offers free service can help. Essentially, they offer legal advice at no charge. Here are a few sites to look at:
- You can search for pro bono attorneys and legal aid societies in your area at www.legalsupporttoday.com
- Legal Services Corporation (www.LSC.gov) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid organizations in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories.
- Visit www.LawHelp.org to look up information about your legal questions and find free legal forms.