This data tool offers three different modes of visualization of low-income Medicare beneficiaries. Low-income here is defined as having a household income lower than 150% of the federal poverty threshold, because this is approximately the level at which Medicare beneficiaries become eligible for benefits like Extra Help and Medicare Savings Programs.

The first visualization displays an aggregated view of the number and percentage of low-income Medicare beneficiaries with any self-reported disability or difficulty within a state.

The second visualization displays a view of the percentages and numbers of low-income Medicare beneficiaries with specific self-reported disabilities or difficulties within a state.

The third visualization displays a breakdown of the proportion and number of low-income Medicare beneficiaries within a given state or county by types of self-reported difficulties or disabilities.

Types of disability/difficulty displayed

Difficulties and disabilities are self-reported in the American Community Survey and may not correspond to disabilities as defined for eligibility for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The types of difficulties include:

  • Ambulatory: The respondent has a condition that substantially limits one or more basic physical activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying.
  • Cognitive: The respondent has cognitive difficulties (such as learning, remembering, concentrating, or making decisions) because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition.
  • Hearing: The respondent is deaf or has serious difficulty hearing.
  • Vision: The respondent is blind or has serious difficulty seeing even with corrective lenses.
  • Self-care: The respondent has any physical or mental health condition that has lasted at least 6 months and makes it difficult for them to take care of their own personal needs, such as bathing, dressing, or getting around inside the home.
  • VA Rated: The respondent is a veteran with a service-connected disability rating assigned by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs due to “an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.”

The source for this data is a 5-year sample of the American Community Survey released in 2013.