October 16, 2021

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Social Security: What happens with Medicare when you turn 65? | Lifestyles

This July marks the 56th anniversary of Medicare. Did you know you can apply for Medicare online even if you are not ready to start your retirement benefits? Applying online can take less than 10 minutes. There are no forms to sign and we usually require no additional documentation. We’ll process your application and contact you if we need more information.

Knowing when to apply for Medicare is very important. You have a limited initial enrollment period to apply. If you miss the initial enrollment period, you may have to pay a higher monthly premium. If you’re eligible for Medicare at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after that birthday. Visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to apply for Medicare and find other important information.

Some Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. To qualify for Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Read our publication Understanding the Extra Help With Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for more information.

Question: I am receiving Social Security retirement benefits and I recently went back to work. Do I have to pay Social Security (FICA) taxes on my income?

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Answer: Yes. By law, your employer must withhold FICA taxes from your paycheck. Although you are retired, you do receive credit for those new earnings. Each year Social Security automatically credits the new earnings and, if your new earnings are higher than in any earlier year used to calculate your current benefit, your monthly benefit could increase. For more information, visit www.ssa.gov or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: Why is it so important that my baby have a Social Security number?

Answer: Your child may need a Social Security number if you are planning to open a bank account, buy savings bonds, obtain medical coverage, or apply for government services for the child. Your child will also need a Social Security number if you are going to declare him or her on your taxes. Getting a Social Security number for your newborn is voluntary, but it is a good idea to apply when your child is born. You can apply for a Social Security number for your baby when you apply for your baby’s birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates will give us your child’s information and we will mail you a Social Security card with the child’s Social Security number. Visit www.ssa.gov/ssnumber for more information.

Question: I worked for the last 10 years and I now have my 40 credits. Does this mean that I get the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?

Answer: Probably not. The 40 credits are the minimum number you need to qualify for retirement benefits. However, we do not base your benefit amount on those credits; it’s based on your earnings over a lifetime of work. To learn more about how you earn Social Security credits and how they work, read or listen to our publication How You Earn Credits, available at www.ssa.gov/pubs.

Question: I’m trying to decide when to retire. Can Social Security help?

Answer: The best place to start is with a visit to the online Social Security Statement. The statement provides you with estimates of benefits for you and your family as well as your earnings record and information you should consider about retirement and retirement planning. It is easy to access your statement online by creating a my Social Security account. To create an account, please visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount. The “right” time to retire is different for everyone and depends on your individual situation. To help you make your own decision, we offer an online fact sheet, When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits, that highlights some of the factors to consider. Find this publication at www.ssa.gov/pubs/10147.html.

Question: I am injured and will be out of work for six months. Can I qualify for short-term disability?

Answer: No. Social Security pays only for total disability — conditions that render you unable to work and are expected to last for at least a year or end in death. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability.

Question: I get Social Security because of a disability. How often will my case be reviewed to determine if I’m still eligible?

Answer: How often we review your medical condition depends on how severe it is and the likelihood it will improve. Your award notice tells you when you can expect your first review using the following terminology:

• Medical improvement expected — If your condition is expected to improve within a specific time, your first review will be six to 18 months after you started getting disability benefits.

• Medical improvement possible — If improvement in your medical condition is possible, your case will be reviewed about every three years.

• Medical improvement not expected — If your medical condition is unlikely to improve, your case will be reviewed about once every five to seven years.

For more information, visit www.ssa.gov.



If you’re claiming tax credits on your return this year, you could face a delay for your refund check. Pennygem’s Justin Kircher tells you why.