Date: January 8, 2024Attorney: Richard I. Miller and Dan Stone

New Jersey has several programs to assist seniors with the costs of their prescription medications. For instance, the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) Program, created in 1975, provides prescription medications for low-income elderly and disabled persons at reduced cost. Senior Gold, created in 2001, offers prescription benefits to seniors whose earnings exceed the cap for the PAAD program.

As of January 1, 2024, eligibility for both programs have been broadly expanded to allow thousands of new recipients to qualify.

Pursuant to the new law, PAAD has raised income eligibility to people earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level. This allows single seniors earning up to $52,142, as well as elderly couples who earn up to $59,209, to qualify for benefits. In total, this change is expected to add 1,500 new recipients to the PAAD program.

Further, those earning above 400% of the federal poverty level will now qualify for benefits under the Senior Gold program. This allows single seniors earning between $52,142 and $62,142, or elderly couples earning between $59,209 and $69,209, to be eligible for benefits. This change is expected to add 24,000 new recipients.

The new law allocates $6 million for the promotion of the respective programs and requires pharmacies to display promotional materials for the programs at the counter. It also requires pharmacies to assist those who are ineligible for PAAD to enroll in Senior Gold.

Recipients of Social Security Disability benefits between the ages of 18 and 64 are also eligible for either program.

Considering the exorbitant costs of pharmaceuticals and the impact this has on the elderly and disabled population, it is important to be aware of these programs and the expanded eligibility criteria that enable more individuals to qualify.  The Elder Law and Special Needs team at Mandelbaum Barrett PC are available to answer any questions regarding these programs and other governmental benefits related to long term care.