Enrolling into Medicare & Social Security at the same time
When it comes to taking retirement benefits from Social Security and Medicare, it may not always make sense to enroll in both benefits at the same time. Typically, individuals are first eligible to take Social Security at 62 (60 years old if you claim survivor/widow benefits.) By taking Social Security as early as possible, you are reducing your Social Security permanently by 30%. To learn more about reduced Social Security benefits, visit ssa.gov.
Medicare benefits, however, are not awarded until the age of 65. It can also be activated sooner if you have a disability, End-Stage Renal Disease (ERSD), or Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). To learn more about diagnosis and Medicare, visit medicare.gov
What do you need to know?
How to apply
When applying for your Medicare benefits, the application is completed online through your personal Social Security online account. It is the same online account with Social Security that you use to view your retirement cash benefits. The soonest you can start the application process is three months before becoming eligible for Medicare. To learn more about how to plan for Medicare, read our blog here. If you plan to activate your Social Security and Medicare at 65 years, it may be best to apply for these benefits separately. When applying for these benefits on the same application, it is not uncommon for your Medicare communications to get delayed. Typically, Social Security will process your cash benefit first and then process your Medicare benefits request, causing a delay in receiving your Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBI) or ID card.
Where this can cause issues for individuals is getting your MBI number on your private insurance application. Most individuals who elect Medicare will also purchase additional private insurance to help protect them from the out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare.
If you choose to activate your Social Security and Medicare at the same time, our team recommends that you complete two separate applications for a smoother process. Social Security allows you to only process one application per 24 hours. By completing your Medicare application first, and then submitting a second application for your Social Security benefits on day two, your Medicare application will get processed first, allowing you to receive your ID information faster and not delaying your application with the private insurance company.
You don't have to do this on your own
When navigating through the Medicare maze, know that you are not alone. Schatz Benefit Group has been assisting individuals like yourself for over 15 years. Their services are at no cost and will guide you each step of the way with the enrollment process. Call them today!