Tips For Selecting Medicare & Social Security11 minute read

11 minute read

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Updated for December, 2018

It is important to understand your Medicare and Social Security benefits post-retirement. Typically, retirees become eligible for Medicare and Social Security at age 65, though your precise eligibility age will depend on the year you were born. You can calculate your full retirement age under the law and see at what percentage your benefits will be reduced if you retire before typical retirement age.

Social Security Cards

If you have a physical or mental illness that keeps you from working, you might be able to receive Social Security disability benefits.

Although Medicare, a United States health insurance program, is marked for adults 65 or older, you might qualify if you are younger than 65. This qualification would apply to you if you have disabilities and/or permanent kidney failure. If you have a physical or mental illness that keeps you from working, you might be able to receive Social Security disability benefits. Some qualifying ailments include:

  • Musculoskeletal issues (from back injury to torn ACL)
  • Cardiovascular issues (from heart disease to blood disorders)
  • Speech and sense issues (from hearing loss to vertigo or blindness)
  • Respiratory issues (from asthma to lung cancer)
  • Neurological issues (from Parkinson’s to epilepsy)
  • Mental disorders (from anxiety to Autism)
  • Immune system disorders (from Crohn’s to HIV/AIDS)
  • Various other disorders (from Celiac to Asperger’s)
  • Skin disorders
  • Digestive issues
  • Kidney disease and other genitourinary disorders
  • Cancer
  • Hematological disorders
  • Endocrine disorders

Find out if your disability qualifies for coverage.Wounded or injured military personnel may apply for disability benefits through the Social Security benefit program. This might apply even if they are performing limited work, on active duty status, or receiving limited pay. Social Security staff will evaluate your work ability and decide whether or not you may receive Social Security disability benefits. Find out how much your wounded warrior Social Security benefit will be, whether your family will also receive benefits, and other questions.

If your spouse wants to receive Social Security benefits prior to the “normal/full retirement age,” their benefit will be reduced.

Spousal Social Security Benefits

If you are married, your spouse has a right to a Social Security check on your record, though don’t worry, his/her benefits will not affect the amount of yours. This spousal benefit Social Security applies…

  • If he/she is 62 years old or over
  • Whether or not he/she has worked under Social Security
  • Only if you are receiving retirement or disability
  • If he or she cares for a child under 16 years old and/or a child receiving disability

Remember: If your spouse qualifies for Social Security benefits on their own record and the benefit they receive on yours is higher, they will receive the benefit they qualify for on your record in addition to their own benefit in order to total the highest amount.

Your spouse’s Social Security benefit amount can be up to half of your benefit amount. If your spouse wants to receive Social Security benefits prior to the “normal/full retirement age,” their benefit will be reduced. Though, if your spouse is caring for a child that is under 16 years old and/or receiving disability, this reduced benefit rule does not apply. The age for spousal Medicare benefit qualification is 65 years old. Here is more information on Spousal Benefits.

elderly couple standing together on beach

Ex-Spousal Social Security Benefits

Be aware that even if you are remarried, your ex-husband or ex-wife may be able to receive Social Security benefits on your record. Remember though, this will not cut into the benefits that you receive. The ex-spousal Social Security benefit applies if…

  • He/she is 62 years or older
  • He/she is unmarried
  • Your marriage lasted 10 years or more
  • You are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits
  • You don’t receive benefits but have been divorced for 2+ years

Remember: If your ex-spouse qualifies for Social Security benefits on their own record and the benefit they receive on yours is higher, they will receive the Social Security benefit they qualify for on your record in addition to their own benefit in order to total the highest amount. Here is more information on Ex-spousal Benefits.

Child Social Security Benefits

Children that may qualify to receive Social Security benefits on your record include:

  • Biological children
  • Adopted children
  • Stepchildren
  • Dependent grandchildren

To receive Social Security benefits, your child must be:

  • Unmarried and under 18, or
  • 18-19 years old and a full-time student in K-12 (not college), or
  • 18 or older and disabled from a disability incurred before 22 years old.

Be aware, if your family contains multiple individuals that qualify for Social Security benefits on your record, your family most often can only be awarded a total of 150% – 180% of your full retirement benefit.

Remember: If your child is working, their benefits will be limited based on their earnings.

calculator

Here are links to more Calculators to help you understand your options:

Retirement Age Calculator

The Retirement Age Calculator helps you to decide when would be the optimal age to retire. Think about the situation you or your family is in and which option works best for you.

Benefits for Spouses Calculator

It’s all in the name. The Benefits for Spouses Calculator will show you what your spouse’s benefit would be off of your social security.

Earnings Test Calculator

The Earnings Test Calculator estimates how your earnings will affect the amount of Social Security retirement benefits you receive.

Online Calculator of Social Security Benefits

The Online Calculator of Social Security Benefits allows you to estimate your approximate Social Security benefit by entering multiple factors.

Early or Late Retirement Calculator

The Early or Late Retirement Calculator is a great way to see how much money you would gain by retiring late versus retiring early or right at 65.

Life Expectancy Calculator

The Life Expectancy Calculator helps you plan how many years you need to budget in order for your Social Security retirement fund to last you until end of life.

Have you applied for Social Security and want to check on the status of your application? Checking the status for your Social Security application is quick and easy.

Are you already receiving Social Security benefits, yet have questions about a card replacement, changing your address, receiving copies of your verification letter, or any other concern?

Sources:

www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/08/us-life-expectancy-hits-record-high/16874039/
money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-03-10/why-no-one-can-afford-long-term-care-insurance-and-what-to-use-instead
www.ssa.gov/retire/estimator.html
www.statista.com/topics/1167/medicare/
www.ssa.gov/onlineservices/current.htm
www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/11/25/nine-surprising-social-security-statistics/3698005/
www.nasi.org/learn/medicare/history
www.nea.org/home/17745.htm
www.census.gov/library/publications/2014/demo/p25-1140.html
www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm
www.ssa.gov/people/veterans/