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Medicare Drug Plan Will Reduce Food Stamps for Some Elderly

  • May 12th, 2005

Just as federal officials are about to launch a nationwide campaign to persuade the low-income elderly to apply for the new Medicare drug benefit, the Bush administration has announced that Medicare beneficiaries with low incomes may lose some or all of their food stamps if they sign up for the new program.

The elderly with low incomes -- $1,197 or less a month for single persons or $1,604 for married couples -- qualify for extra help paying for the new prescription drug plan's premiums and their drug costs.

But a new Medicare document addressed to elderly and disabled people who receive food stamps warns that the newfound savings on drugs could reduce the amount of food stamp assistance an elderly person receives. The document states: "With the Medicare prescription drug coverage, you may see your food stamp benefits go down as you spend less on drugs. Using the new Medicare benefit means you will have more cash to spend on food that you used to spend on prescription drugs. If you get the $10 minimum food stamp benefit, your benefits may end. However, the extra cash you will have to spend on food makes up for not getting as much in food stamps."

For an article on the drug program's effect on food stamps in the New York Times, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/08/politics/08drugs.html? (Free registration required and article is available free of charge for only one week.)

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Last Modified: 05/12/2005

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