Government Benefits

People who have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or are at risk for low vision may have difficulty paying for examinations, medical treatment, and low-vision aids and services. Federal, state, and local government agencies can help 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

You can 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

You can search online by state and city for “departments of health and social services.”

Resources for People with Macular Degeneration

BrightFocus Foundation has compiled contact information about services and organizations that can help people with AMD 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.

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