Help with Social Security and Medicare

By Kokila Amin

This article begins a series of retirement and health-related information for people that are approaching Medicare eligibility or planning for retirement. This month we will look at two important sources of information and will conclude by providing you site information so that you can determine your next steps. When one thinks about retirement, one thinks of eligibility and resources. A visit to the local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office will be helpful in planning for both as this office also checks eligibility for Medicare benefits.

Social Security

Are you getting everything you're entitled to? Maybe not. If you go into a Social Security Administration (SSA) office, you may answer questions that you are asked and often times they will only look at your earnings during your lifetime to determine your benefits. You should bring your spousal information and marriage certificate (even if deceased). You may qualify for more benefits but without this information, you cannot even enter into that discussion, you may qualify for up to 50 percent of the benefit your spouse would have received at retirement.

You can also apply for extra help from the SSA office. If you have been disabled for more than 24 months, you may be entitled to disability. That's after you are determined to be disabled by SSA office. It may take several trips to the SSA office and several denials, but if you qualify for disability, you may be eligible for Medicaid which would pick up your costs of Medicare Part B. Whatever help you get from your state office doesn't mean you will receive the specific financial help or benefit for free. They look at income and assets. To protect some of these assets, you can get a long term care policy. This policy can help, as it protects your assets by excluding them from the income/asset calculation.

It is also important to have a plan to gift your assets during your lifetime or take out a life policy that will help the beneficiaries pay taxes on your estate. A life policy is an excellent vehicle for earning tax free money and creating a legacy!

Medicare

There are Medicare Part C plans that are available for people with disabilities, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and cover more than original Medicare. Plans change annually and your health needs may as well. If you move to another county, your desired plan might not be an available option causing an election period. There are deadlines for electing original Medicare, part B, part D and Medicare Advantage plans. Postponing some decisions for later may create an extra charge or penalty payable as a higher monthly premium.

More information can be found at:

Medicare.gov
Ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/prescriptionhelp
Ncoa.org

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Kokila Amin is a CPA in NC and works at NC DHHS and licensed in Life, Accident, Health and Medicare Insurance. For details call or text 919-454-1474 or email aminsinusa@gmail.com