Retiring Poor

 It’s not easy to retire without money.  I’ve figured out a few ways to help survive that might help readers too!  One of the things I learned is that if a senior is low income, that senior can apply for Medicaid as a supplement to Medicare.  Many seniors are retiring without the insurance safety net previously provided by former employers.  Here is a link to the guidelines for Medicaid in Illinois: for 2014.  See also for help paying Medicare costs. Roughly, the top income approximates the social security benefit received ($1100-$1300 for an individual).  Most seniors in this “income” bracket certainly cannot afford a Medicare supplement, so I’d encourage anyone to apply for Medicaid.  If you qualify for Medicaid, you will be able to choose a prescription assistance program  (Medicare Part D) as well; the one I was assigned and with which (so far) I am satisfied is the one with United Healthcare through AARP.  I had Medicaid prior to retiring and find it interesting that I paid zero for prescription coverage through Medicaid, but now I pay a small copayment through my Medicare supplement plan.  Get poorer…get poorer.  Go figure.  

Once someone who applies for social security starts receiving Medicare, $100 will be deducted each month from social security payments; there is help available for this in the form of a QMB (Qualified Medical Beneficiary program).  I applied for this program in April and am still waiting to be approved.  I’ve been told at the local DHS office that I qualify but that with the new Obamacare, the offices are overloaded and it will take up to six months to see the money back in my social security.  Considering that’s just a little less than ten percent of my benefit, it’s really quite a hit!  When I’m approved, I’ll update as to whether or not I received any funds retroactively.

Another program to assist low-income seniors is the Illlinois Tollway’s I-Pass assistance program.  There are a few places to apply and obtain this, but none of them is very convenient and it is necessary to go in person and bring along the necessary documentation.  The website for information about this program is  If you quality for Medicaid, you qualify for iPass assist.  I-PASS Assist is $20, which includes a $10 deposit and $10 in prepaid tolls, compared to the regular price of $50 payment for automatic balance replenishment accounts or $60 payment. ($20 refundable deposit/$40 prepaid tolls) for manual replenish accounts.  It is only necessary to replenish this account in increments of $20 which is also nice as many seniors don’t use the tollways as often as the still-working do.

A couple of weeks ago, while visiting grandchildren in Colorado, I visited Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado, one of my favorite places in the entire world!  I was able to purchase an America the Beautiful pass for the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands for a one-time lifetime fee of $10!  This is also good for discounts on many things such as camping, boat launch, etc. (like a whopping 50%!).  The pass will admit the pass-holder and the others in the car!  The pass can only be purchased in person at the park and is worth every penny!  

I will share whatever secrets I uncover with other seniors of low income.  Try to live a full, rewarding life on the basics, my friend!IMG_0133IMG_0130


Published in: on August 23, 2014 at 1:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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