How the Hold Harmless Provision Protects Your Benefits

November 30, 2020 • By

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Last Updated: November 30, 2021


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 2022 is $170.10, which is $21.60 higher than the 2021 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 2022.
  • 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


  1. CoolGospel

    Thank you so much sir for sharing this post i really learnt Alot.


    Thanks for sharing such a good topic and learned about “hold harmless provision”.

  3. ls

    I just googled “hold harmless clause” and got this explanation: “A hold harmless clause is a statement in a contract that absolves one or both parties to the agreement from liability for any injuries or damage.”

    So, with Medicare, does a “hold harmless clause” mean the patient cannot sue for malpractice?

  4. LS

    The blog does not explain what “hold harmless provision” means. It sounds important. Please explain it.

    If I sign up for it, does it mean I must “hold harmless” a doctor who may be guilty of malpractice?

    • V.V.

      Hi LS, thanks for using our blog. For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums. The Social Security Act contains a “hold harmless” provision that protects most beneficiaries. The amount of the benefit will stay the same even though the Medicare Part B premium increases. You don’t need to do anything.


    Thanks for informating us. We learned exactly about “hold harmless provision”.

  6. Alexander H.

    I receive SSDI and have an deductible for Medicare every month. I’ve been told that the Obama Care, Trump care, or Medicare Supplement would help me. But I don’t see any real help when I need it. Especially when it comes to dental care. I need dental care now but, I can’t afford it. It is very confusing with all of the different programs to choose from. How are we supposed to choose when we are not sure about them. So we are focused to take what someone tells us. Please explain.

    • V.V.

      Hi Alexander, thanks for using our blog. If you need information about Medicare Savings Programs, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Prescription Drug plans, or the covered services, please call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY 1-877-486-2048) or visit We hope this helps.

  7. Sharon L.

    I started receiving retirement benefits at the age of 62 and continued to work. The Social Security and You booklet I received stated that one full year after I reached full retirement age Social Security would go back and refigure my benefits from the years I worked from 62 until the full retirement age which is 66. I have not received any info from that at all I am now 67 years old and worked steadily from age 62 until now. Should I not get an increase for those years worked.

    • V.V.

      Hi Sharon, thanks for using our blog. Generally, if you continue to work while receiving retirement benefits, your monthly benefit amount may increase. As long as you continue to work and receive benefits, we will check your record every year to see whether the additional earnings will increase your monthly benefit. If there is an increase, we will send you a letter telling you of your new benefit amount.

      You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact 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.

  8. Elka H.

    Hi, I’d like to know how to become an interpreter for SS/Medicare. I’ve helped an elderly lady whose English is almost nonexistent, with her SS and they had to get an interpreter on the line, so I wondered how to get approved and become one myself.
    Thx. Elka Harms

  9. Sherry R.

    I’m from Iowa, beginning my SSA benefits at age 62. This month I turn 65 and wondering what the best coverage economically would be for me. I’m healthy and not on prescriptions having no other US health insurance. Usually I pay cash for all my doctor visits for yearly physicals. I need every penny of my small Social Security monthly payment because I have no savings left due to a personal unforeseen situation. Any suggestions are appreciated.

  10. Sandy

    If my hubs withdrew money from his 401k to remodel our house and had to claim it as income which sent our income up over the limit should that make our medicare payment higher for the next whole year even though we are both retired?

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