How the Hold Harmless Provision Protects Your Benefits

November 30, 2020 • By


Social Security works together with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to make sure you won’t have a reduction in your Social Security benefits as a result of Medicare Part B premium increases.

A special rule called the “hold harmless provision” protects your Social Security benefit payment from decreasing due to an increase in the Medicare Part B premium. The Part B base premium for 2021 is $148.50, which is $3.90 higher than the 2020 base premium.

Most people with Medicare will pay the new premium amount because the increase in their benefit amount will cover the increase. However, a small number of people will see little or no increase in their Part B premium — and their Social Security benefit checks will remain the same — because the amount of their cost-of-living adjustment isn’t large enough to cover the increase.

To qualify for the hold harmless provision, you must:

  • Receive Social Security benefits or be entitled to Social Security benefits for November and December of the current year.
  • Have your Medicare Part B premiums for December and January deducted from your monthly benefits.

There are exceptions:

The hold harmless provision does NOT apply to you if:

  • You enroll in Part B for the first time in 2021.
  • You pay an income-related monthly adjustment amount premium.
  • You are dually eligible for Medicaid and have your premium paid by a state Medicaid agency.

You can learn more by visiting Medicare.


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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


Please review our Comment Policy before leaving a comment.


    Soy Ciudadana, tengo 80 años, regreso a U.S.A
    despues de 3 años, en Argentina, tengo Medicare A, y quiero el B, por favor.

  2. Miss know it all

    I am under age 65 and have a disability. As a result i have had medicare since i was determined to be disabled. I was never charged any extra premium all these years an d a few years ago during a visit i was told my premium was $74 -$94 a month? I never received the benefits i was supposed to and experienced fraud on my account. if i couldnt get The treatments why am i charged a premium? i ended u buying private insurance under obama-care and pay no premium whats the premiums based on?

    • Miss Knowitall

      PS Does IL STATE MEDICAID cover those premiums? the spend down was $300 a month when i had income of $980 a month isnt that too high. I won three appeals against medicaid and no one would correct the high spend down.

    • Vonda

      For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  3. carol

    i recently received an IDES what appears to b a debit card, got a letter with it couple days b4 that card, im retired, did not file for any unemployment card, took it down to ,the local police station, and their like “oh we get that all the time” acting like no biggy. and just blew it off, i waited for almost an hour, and was told were very busy right now. mayb thats why its rampant, police just blow it off.

  4. Steve Brooks

    Social Security penalizes Americans who worked hard their entire lives and made regular FICA contributions just because they were successful in life. FICA contributions are not taxes, but rather deposits that were made into our individual accounts. SSA is now only providing a portion of the benefits earned and paid for based on other income. This is wrong, morally wrong, and flies in the face of the values embedded in our nation’s founding documents of individual liberties and freedoms. What is being done to resolve this issue?

    • Vonda

      Hi Steve, thanks for using our blog. You can submit feedback by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form, where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We hope this helps.

  5. JessicaKoller says:
    I’ve regarded Social Security as longevity insurance. Have I worried about breaking even? No. It’s relatively inexpensive being dead. I derive peace of mind from knowing that my wife, if she outlives me, will collect my (larger) benefit.


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