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When to Apply for Medicare and Social Security

SocialSecurityWe are often asked this question…

When am I eligible for Medicare and Social Security?

…especially as our clients reach their 60s and start dreaming of retirement. Here are some answers to your questions about Medicare and Social Security.

When Can I Apply for Medicare

If you worked and paid Medicare taxes for 10 years, and you are not disabled, you are eligible to enroll in Medicare beginning three months before the month you turn 65. The initial enrollment period ends three months after your birth month. Say you were born in October 11, 1953, that means that your initial enrollment period begins on July 1, 2018 and ends on January 31, 2019.

Click here for a calculator  you can use to determine when you are eligible.

Sign Up Early to Avoid Delays

If you sign up for Medicare Part A (hospitalization insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) during the first three months of your enrollment period, you are eligible for Medicare on the first day of your birth month. Using our example above, you would be eligible on October 1st.

If you wait to enroll, you will have to wait to be eligible, too. Here’s a chart that shows you when you will be eligible for Medicare:

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If your birthday is the first day of the month, you can really get the jump on enrollment. Here’s an example from Medicare.gov:

Joe’s 65th birthday is July 1, 2015. If he signs up for Medicare in March, April or May, his coverage will start on June 1, 2015.

When Can I Start Receiving Social Security?

The earliest you can apply for Social Security benefits is age 62 but your monthly benefit will be less than if you wait until your full retirement age, which is between 65 and 67, depending on what year you were born. If you wait until you’re 70, your monthly benefit will be higher.

The key thing to keep in mind is that the total lifetime benefit will be about the same whether you start at 62 or wait until you’re 70. It’s up to you to decide which option is best for your situation.

What is My Full Retirement Age?

  • If you were born in 1937 or earlier, your full retirement age is 65.
  • If you were born between 1938 and 1942, your full retirement age is 65 + two months for each year. For example, if you were born in 1942, your retirement age is 65 + 10 months
  • If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66.
  • If you were born between 1955 and 1959, your full retirement age is 66 + two months for each year. For example, if you were born in 1959, your retirement age is 66 + 10 months.
  • If you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67.

Whether you’re planning for retirement or just plain wondering when you can benefit from Medicare and Social Security, print this blog post and file it with your retirement documents so you can refer back to it. And for additional information, click  here for a publication from Social Security, When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits.

 

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