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For Release:
December 08, 2011

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.

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Office of Communications

DHSS Announces Increase in Income Limits for Key Programs for Low-Income Seniors


PAAD, Senior Gold, Lifeline and Hearing Aid Assistance


Building on Governor Chris Christie’s efforts to protect seniors access to medical care and utility services, the Department of Health and Senior Services today announced that income eligibility limits will rise for thousands of low-income seniors enrolled in state prescription and heating assistance programs.


Beginning January 1, 2012, participants in the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD), Senior Gold, Lifeline energy assistance, and the Hearing Aid Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (HAAAD) programs will benefit from increased income limits.


In 2012, under state law, income limits for these programs rise by the same percentage as the federal Social Security Administration’s cost-of-living adjustment that takes effect at the beginning of each year.  Since the 2012 cost-of-living adjustment will be 3.6 percent, the 2012 income limits for the PAAD, Lifeline energy assistance, and HAAAD programs will rise by the same amount.  Senior Gold income limits will increase to $10,000 above the new PAAD limits for both single and married participants.


“These programs provide prescription, utility and hearing assistance to tens of thousands of seniors. Despite tough budget years, New Jersey has been a leader in supporting our most vulnerable seniors,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd. “In the past two years, the Governor has fully funded the PAAD program, and enhanced it by lowering co-pays for generic drugs.”


PAAD is the nation’s oldest and one of the most generous senior pharmaceutical programs in the nation with 160,000 low-income seniors receiving assistance with life-saving medications.


To participate in PAAD in 2012, single people must have incomes below $25,312 and married couples must have incomes below $31,035.  These income guidelines also apply to the Lifeline and HAAAD programs.


To participate in Senior Gold in 2012, single persons must have incomes between $25,312 and $35,312, and married couples must have a combined income between $31,035 and $41,035.


To be eligible for PAAD, Senior Gold, Lifeline or HAAAD, an applicant must be a permanent resident of New Jersey; be either 65 years of age or older, or at least 18 years of age and receiving Social Security disability benefits; and have income within the program limits. Medicare-eligible PAAD and Senior Gold beneficiaries are also required to enroll in a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan unless prohibited from doing so.


PAAD and Senior Gold offer access to prescription drugs at a significantly reduced rate.  Eligible PAAD beneficiaries must enroll in a Medicare Prescription Plan and can obtain each covered generic drug for a $5 co-payment and each covered brand name drug for a $7 co-payment.  Eligible Senior Gold beneficiaries also must enroll in a Medicare Prescription Plan.  They pay a co-payment of $15 plus half the remaining cost for each prescription.


Senior Gold also includes an annual catastrophic cap.  After an individual has paid $2,000 or a couple has paid $3,000 out-of-pocket, the beneficiary can obtain prescriptions for a flat $15 co-payment for the remainder of his Senior Gold eligibility period.


Lifeline is a utility assistance program that offers $225 to persons who meet the PAAD eligibility requirements or who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Hearing Aid Assistance to the Aged and Disabled provides a $100 reimbursement to eligible persons who purchase a hearing aid.

For information or to obtain an application, call 1-800-792-9745 or visit the Department of Health and Senior Services website at

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