Government Benefits

If you or a loved one has glaucoma or is at risk for low vision, you’ll have medical expenses for examinations, medical treatment, and low-vision aids and services. Federal, state, and local government agencies can help cover these costs by providing free or low-cost services or directing people to sources of assistance.

Living with Low Vision: Federal Benefits Programs

If you’re having difficulty paying for eye care services or medical treatment, you may qualify for one or more of these federal programs.

Medicare

This federal health insurance program is for people age 65 or older who are receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Prescription drug coverage is also available. To receive Medicare assistance, you must meet specific eligibility requirements.

Learn more about Medicare and how to apply at http://ssa.gov/medicare/ or call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227).

Medicaid

This federal program, administered by state agencies, is for individuals and families with low incomes and resources. Eligibility and benefits vary by state. People can apply through their state's Department of Human Services or Medicaid Assistance Program.

Find out whether you qualify and how to apply at http://medicaid.gov/ or call 1-877-267-2323.

Social Security

This federal program provides retirement income, disability payments, and other payments to workers who contributed to the plan when employed and their dependents. The program also provides financial assistance to those who are legally blind or who have vision problems that prevent them from employment.

Learn about the different types of Social Security benefits and how to apply at http://ssa.gov/ or call 1-800-772-1213.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The VA ensures access to and provides coverage for eye care services for veterans who are eligible for health care coverage. To receive VA assistance, veterans must meet certain eligibility requirements. Learn more about the program and apply at http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/ or call 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

State and Local Benefits Programs

Each state and territory in the United States has programs that can help you find affordable health care services that cover vision care.

State and Area Agencies on Aging

State Agency on Aging offices are located in each state’s capital city, and many states also have local offices. They provide information on:

  • Nutrition and support services
  • Elder rights programs
  • Long-term care
  • Ombudsman programs
  • Legal services
  • Elder abuse prevention

Check your phone book or search online by state and city for “agency on aging.”

State Departments of Health and Social Services (DHSS)

State HHS offices are located in state capitals and often in other cities and towns. They can provide information on:

  • Support and respite services
  • Facilities
  • Financial assistance
  • Regulations and licensing

Check your phone book or search online by state and city for “departments of health and social services.”

Resources for People with Glaucoma

BrightFocus Foundation has compiled contact information about services and organizations that can help people with glaucoma and other types of low vision:

Please note that these organizations are not affiliated with BrightFocus. BrightFocus is not responsible for the content of these websites and does not endorse or recommend any particular program offered by these organizations.

Don't miss out.
Receive research updates, inspiring stories, and expert advice
Keep me informed about: *
Please select at least one.
You must select at least one disease category.
Please enter your first name.
Please enter your last name.

Related Experts & Advice

  • Two new medications hold great promise in lowering eye pressure by directly targeting the tissue that is diseased in glaucoma, the trabecular meshwork
    Expert

    Two New Glaucoma Medications: Learn More

    Learn about two new medications that were approved by the FDA in late 2017, and why they are so exciting to patients and ophthalmologists alike.

    March 14, 2018
  • Secondary Glaucoma (Medications - Eye Disease - Trauma - Diabetes)
    Expert

    Secondary Glaucoma

    Secondary glaucoma is a broad term that encompasses many types of glaucoma that are the result of certain medical conditions in the eye or the body.

    February 12, 2018