Thursday, May 19, 2022

When To Apply For Social Security And Medicare

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When A Spouse Dies

Medicare and Social Security, explained

When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive the higher of their own benefit or their deceased spouses benefit. Thats why financial planners often advise the higher-earning spouse to delay claiming. If the higher-earning spouse dies first, then the surviving, lower-earning spouse will receive a larger Social Security check for life.

When the surviving spouse hasnt reached their FRA, they will be entitled to prorated amounts starting at age 60. Once at their FRA, the surviving spouse is entitled to 100% of the deceased spouses benefit or their own benefit, whichever is higher.

What Happens If You Dont Sign Up For Medicare

Its always your choice whether you sign up for Medicare, but you should understand the consequences of not signing up for this health insurance, including:

  • Youll pay the full amount for all medical care unless you have private health insurance
  • You may face delays getting Medicare coverage in future
  • Youll face penalties if you change your mind and sign up for Medicare later

Automatic enrollment for Social Security beneficiaries makes getting Medicare easy. While you always have a choice about which Medicare plans you keep, consider their benefits now and in the future before making any decisions about your insurance-based coverage.

Zia Sherrell is a digital health journalist with over a decade of healthcare experience, a bachelors degree in science from the University of Leeds and a masters degree in public health from the University of Manchester. Her work has appeared in Netdoctor, Medical News Today, Healthline, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo, Harper’s Bazaar, Men’s Health and more.

When shes not typing madly, Zia enjoys traveling and chasing after her dogs.

Can I Get Medicare Coverage If I Dont Sign Up For Social Security At 65

Who is this for?

If youre not planning on signing up for Social Security right away, you can still enroll in Medicare. Learn how here.

These days, people are retiring later in life than their parents did. If youre still working, you might not want to start collecting Social Security benefits right when you turn 65.

But you can enroll in Medicare at 65 even if youre not getting Social Security. In some cases, signing up for Medicare as soon as youre eligible is better than waiting.

Heres why:

  • Medicare might have better coverage than your health insurance plan through work.
  • If you dont have a comparable health insurance plan and you wait to sign up for Medicare, your Medicare premiums will be higher when you do sign up.

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Fact #: Social Security Provides A Foundation Of Retirement Protection For Nearly Every American And Its Benefits Are Not Means

97% of the elderly either receive Social Security or will receive it.

Almost all workers participate in Social Security by making payroll tax contributions, and almost all elderly Americans receive Social Security benefits. In fact, 97 percent of the elderly either receive Social Security or will receive it, according to Social Security Administration estimates. The near-universality of Social Security brings many important advantages.

Social Security provides a foundation of retirement protection for people at all earnings levels. It encourages private pensions and personal saving because it isnt means-tested in other words, it doesnt reduce or deny benefits to people whose income or assets exceed a certain level. Social Security provides a higher annual payout than private retirement annuities per dollar contributed because its risk pool is not limited to those who expect to live a long time, no funds leak out in lump-sum payments or bequests, and its administrative costs are much lower.

Indeed, universal participation and the absence of means-testing make Social Security very efficient to administer. Administrative costs amount to only 0.6 percent of annual benefits, far below the percentages for private retirement annuities. Means-testing Social Security would impose significant reporting and processing burdens on both recipients and administrators, undercutting many of those advantages while yielding little savings.

What Happens If You Claim After Your Fra

FREE 8+ Sample Social Security Application Forms in PDF

If you wait until your age 70 to start claiming benefits, then youll get an extra 8% per yearor, in total, 132% of your primary insurance amount for the rest of your life. Claiming after you turn 70 doesnt increase your benefits further, so theres no reason to wait longer than that.

The longer you can afford to wait after age 62 , the larger your monthly benefit will be. Nevertheless, delaying benefits doesnt necessarily mean that youll come out ahead overall. Other factors should be considered, including your expected longevity and whether you plan to file for spousal benefits. You should also consider the tax, investment opportunity, and health coverage implications.

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How To Apply For Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C plans, more commonly known as Medicare Advantage plans, are offered by federally approved private insurers as alternatives to Original Medicare .

In order to get a Part C plan, you must first enroll â and stay enrolled â in Original Medicare. You can compare Medicare Advantage plans on the Medicare website and then purchase one directly from the insurer. You can do this during your initial enrollment, special enrollment, and open enrollment period in the fall.

If you decide you want to return to Original Medicare coverage, you can drop Part C during Medicare Advantage disenrollment, which runs January 1 to February 14 ever year.

Learn more about Medicare Part C.

What Should You Do Once You Get Medicare

Although you can rely on Original Medicare alone, 86% of Medicare enrollees also have some type of additional coverage.2 It can be from an employer, a privately-purchased plan or from a government-run program like Medicaid. Original Medicare pays for a great deal of healthcare, but still leaves you with potentially costly gaps in healthcare coverage. Supplementary plans can cover these gaps including deductibles and copayments at a fraction of the out-of-pocket rate.

MedicareGuide.coms plan selector is designed to intelligently bring you the best Medicare Supplement plans. These plans, also known as Medigap policies, fill the gaps in coverage that you would otherwise be charged by Original Medicare.

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Fact #: Most Elderly Beneficiaries Rely On Social Security For The Majority Of Their Income

Social Security provides the majority of income to most elderly Americans. For about half of seniors, it provides at least 50 percent of their income, and for about 1 in 4 seniors, it provides at least 90 percent of income, across multiple surveys and the study that matches survey and administrative data.

What Is The Monthly Premium For Medicare Part B

WATCH NOW: Social Security, Medicare benefits vary depending on when you claim them

The standard Medicare Part B premium for medical insurance in 2021 is $148.50.Some people who collect Social Security benefits and have their Part B premiums deducted from their payment will pay less. This is because their Part B premium increased more than the cost-of-living increase for 2021 Social Security benefits. Social Security will send a letter to all people who collect Social Security benefits that states each persons exact Part B premium amount for 2021. Since 2007, higher-income beneficiaries have paid a larger percentage of their Medicare Part B premium than most. Depending on their income, these higher-income beneficiaries will pay premiums that amount to 35, 50, 65, or 80 percent of the total cost of coverage. You can get details at or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE .

More Information

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An Example Of Taxed Benefits

Lets say you receive the maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at FRA in 2021: $3,148 per month. Your spouse receives half as much, or $1,574 a month. Together, you receive $4,722 a month, or $56,664 per year. Half of that, or $28,332, counts toward your combined income for determining whether you have to pay tax on part of your Social Security benefits. Lets further assume that you dont have any nontaxable interest, wages, or other income except for your traditional individual retirement accounts required minimum distribution of $10,000 for the year.

Your combined income would be $38,332half of your Social Security income, plus your IRA distributionwhich would make up to 50% of your Social Security benefits taxable because youve exceeded the $32,000 threshold. Now, you may be thinking, 50% of $56,664 is $28,332, and Im in the 12% tax bracket, so the tax on my Social Security benefits will be $3,399.84.

Fortunately, the calculation takes other factors into account, and your tax would be a mere $225. You can read all about the taxation of Social Security benefits in the Internal Revenue Service Publication 915.

In Which Statesis Medicaid Enrollment Automatic

The Social Security Administration handles Medicaid enrollmentfor the many states in which Medicaid eligibility is automatic for SSIrecipients. Your state will contact you with information after you receive yourSSI award letter from Social Security. These states are:


North Carolina


Note that SSI recipients in Indiana will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid starting on June 1, 2014. At that point, Indiana switches from being a 209 state to an automatic enrollment state.

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Social Security And Medicare Timing

Many people retire and start Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits at about the same time. Its logical to do that. But its not the only way. It may not be the best way for you.

You can make independent decisions about all three. You can start them years apart. You can start them in any order

How Do I Know Im Enrolled In Medicare

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After you apply for Medicare, Social Security will review and process your application. Theyll contact you if they need more information.

When youre approved for Medicare Part A and/or Part B, Social Security will send you a welcome packet that includes the following:

  • Your confirmation letter
  • Your red, white and blue Medicare ID card
  • A Welcome to Medicare booklet that walks you through decisions you may have to make with your Medicare coverage
  • The Medicare & You handbook

If youve applied for a private Medicare plan such as a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost, Medigap or Medicare Prescription Drug plan, when your enrollment is accepted youll get a separate confirmation letter and ID card.

Medicare helps pay for your health care costs and covers preventive care including a visit with your doctor each year. So once you get Medicare Part B, schedule your initial Welcome to Medicare visit with your doctor. And each year you get an Annual Wellness Visit with your doctor.

For more helpful tips, review this checklist, how to use Medicare your first year.

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What You Need To Know About Applying For Medicare

This website contains instructions on how to enroll in Medicare online through the Social Security Administration. Its simple and convenient theres no need to drive to a local Social Security office or schedule an appointment with a Social Security employee.

It only takes a few minutes. Generally, once your application has been filed online, you are finished. There are no signature forms, and, in most cases, no documentation is necessary. Social Security will evaluate your application and will notify you if additional information is required. Otherwise, your Medicare card will be mailed to you.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administer Medicare . Social Security collaborates with CMS to enroll beneficiaries in Medicare. Visit Applying for Medicare Only Before You Decide for additional information on applying for Medicare only and deferring retirement benefits.

If youre currently enrolled in the Medicare Part A and desire to enroll in Medicare Part B, please complete form CMS 40-B, Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B and submit it in person or you can mail it to your local Social Security office.

Who is eligible to apply for Medicare online?

You may use the online Medicare application if you meet the following criteria:

When should I make a Medicare application?

Why would you want to apply for Medicare online?

The following are some of the advantages of applying for your Medicare card online:

In Person

Spouses And Social Security Retirement Benefits

Your spouse can also claim up to 50 percent of your benefit amount if they dont have enough work credits, or if youre the higher earner. This doesnt take away from your benefit amount. For example, say you have a retirement benefit amount of $1,500 and your spouse has never worked. You can receive your monthly $1,500 and your spouse can receive up to $750. This means your household will get $2,250 each month.

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Can You Get Private Insurance Instead Of Medicare

If you have Medicare Part A or Part B, insurers generally arent allowed to sell you a traditional individual health insurance plan .

You can purchase individual health insurance if youve never enrolled in Medicare because you think the overall costs are too high. If youre in the unusual situation of paying for Part A premiums, you can also switch to individual health insurance.

If you develop a medical condition before turning 65 that would qualify you for Medicare, such as ESRD, you can decline to purchase Medicare.

If you decide to purchase private insurance once youre eligible for Medicare unless youre continuing the employer-sponsored insurance that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period then youll have to pay the costly late enrollment penalty once you do apply.

If youre nearing the age of 65, then its important you start considering your Medicare coverage.

Do You Have To Sign Up

New Medicare Card Updates and Social Security Disability Benefits Overview

If you receive Social Security benefits at least 3 months before you turn 65, in most cases you will automatically receive Medicare Part A and Part B on the first day of the month when you turn 65. If your birthday falls on the first day of the month, your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage will begin on the first day of the previous month.

You will automatically receive Medicare Part A and Part B if you have received Social Security disability benefits for at least 2 years. If you reside in Puerto Rico, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A, but will have to sign up for Medicare Part B in order to receive it.

If you are not receiving Social Security benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you will have to sign up with Social Security in order to receive Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. To sign up you can apply online at Additionally, when you receive coverage, you can decide to receive Part C or Part D for additional coverage.

You will receive coverage at different times depending on the exact situation. If you enroll one to three months before you reach 65 years of age, you will receive Medicare benefits the month that you hit 65. If you enroll the month you reach 65, you will receive Medicare one month after. If you enroll one month after you reach 65, you will receive Medicare two months after. If you wait two to three months after you reach 65, then you will have Medicare three months after the month you enrolled.

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Your Options: Working Applying For Retirement Benefits Or Both

Choosing when to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits is an important decision. Theres no one choice that works for everyone because your lifestyle, finances, and goals are not the same as others.

Do you want to retire early, stay on the job, or work beyond retirement age?

Should you start receiving retirement benefits now, or wait until you can receive a higher benefit amount?

These are important questions youll need to answer as you plan for your retirement. Consider the four options below to help you make the best decision.

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About Social Security And Medicare

Social Security pays retirement, disability, family and survivors benefits. Medicare, a separate program run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, helps pay for inpatient hospital care, nursing care, doctors’ fees, drugs, and other medical services and supplies to people age 65 and older, as well as to people who have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for two years or more. Your Social Security covered earnings qualify you for both programs. Medicare does not pay for long-term care, so you may want to consider options for private insurance. For more information about Medicare, visit the Medicare website or call 1-800-633-4227 .

Retirement – If you were born before 1938, your full retirement age is 65. Because of a 1983 change in the law, the full retirement age will increase gradually to 67 for people born in 1960 and later.

Some people retire before their full retirement age. You can retire as early as 62 and take benefits at a reduced rate. If you work after your full retirement age, you can receive higher benefits because of additional earnings and credits for delayed retirement.

Disability – If you become disabled before full retirement age, you can receive disability benefits after six months if you have:

  • enough credits from earnings and
  • a physical or mental impairment that’s expected to prevent you from doing “substantial” work for a year or more or result in death.

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What To Bring When Applying For Medicare

If youre collecting Social Security benefits before you turn 65, youll automatically be enrolled in Medicare. You wont need to dig up any documents to apply. The same goes for being eligible due to collecting SSDI after 24 months.

Whether youre applying in-person, by phone, or online, youll want to make sure you have all of your documentation and information readily available. Here is an overview of what you might need:

  • Birth certificate: You will need to provide proof of birth or an original birth certificate. Other acceptable forms include medical, insurance, and immunization records.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency: This can include a passport or another form of legal documentation to prove citizenship or legal residency. If youre not a U.S. citizen, you can show another form of residency such as a green card.
  • Social Security card: You will need to have your Social Security card or a record of your Social Security number.
  • Proof of health insurance: You will need proof of health insurance for Medicare eligibility. Copies are acceptable.
  • Tax information: This can be a copy of your past W2 statements or proof that you pay self-employment or other taxes. Providing this information can help you figure out how much youll pay for different Medicare parts.
  • Military documents: If you receive military or veteran benefits, you can show documentation and other records of your service.

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