Social Security and Medicare Are Lasting Sources of Independence

In July, communities everywhere celebrate our nation’s independence with fireworks, family, and friends. A strong community also creates independence as we help each other recognize our full potential.

Social Security has been helping people maintain a higher quality of life and a level of independence for over 80 years. And Medicare has been doing the same for over five decades. Most people first become eligible for Medicare at age 65. For many older Americans, this is their primary health insurance and without it, they might not enjoy an independent lifestyle.

Medicare can be a little confusing to newcomers so we’ve broken it down into segments. The four parts of Medicare are as easy as A, B, C, and D.

  • Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home health care. Most people get Medicare Part A premium-free since it is earned by working and paying Social Security taxes.
  • Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover services from doctors and other outpatient health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services. Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. Some high-income individuals pay more than the standard premium. If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period and then decide to do so later, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you have Part B.
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage) allows you to choose to receive all of your health care services through a provider organization. This plan includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B, usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage, and may include extra benefits and services at an extra cost. You must have Part A and Part B to enroll in Part C. Monthly premiums vary depending on the state where you live, private insurer, and whether you select a health maintenance organization or a preferred provider organization.
  • Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Many people pay a premium for Part D. However, people with low income and resources may qualify for Extra Help to pay the premium and deductible. If you don’t enroll in a Medicare drug plan when you’re first eligible, you may pay a late enrollment penalty if you join a plan later. You will have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. To see if you qualify for extra help visit socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.

Will you be age 65 soon? Even if you decide not to retire, you should apply for Medicare. You can apply in less than 10 minutes using our online Medicare application. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare to learn more about applying for Medicare.

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40 thoughts on “Social Security and Medicare Are Lasting Sources of Independence

  1. So, when is the Congress going to repay all the money they removed from the Social Security trust fund for unfunded wars? What will we all do when the White House agenda for cutting Medicare is implemented?

    • This appears to be a “feel good” comment. It is a great question, but as you know this is a political issue. Congress is home and will be holding various community events. You can ask your representative directly.

    • Congress did not remove money from Social Security. Social Security Commission invests in Treasury bills with excess revenues from workers. Recently, revenues from workers are not enough to pay out to all retirees , so Social Security Commission is selling Treasury bills as needed to make up the difference. now, the most important thing you need to be concerned about is the interest rates that Social Security Commission earns on Treasury bills . as you know, interest rates had been falling and stuck at close to zero for past 20 years when Alan Greenspan of Federal Reserve whittle interest rates down to prop up real estate and stuff. Anyway, there is different term lengths for treasury bills ranging from 90 days to 30 years to maturity, so Social Security Commission manages its investments in Treasury bills to make sure that there are enough Treasury bills to sell to pay to retirees when worker inflows are not enough every month. This is probably one reason why SS skipped cost of living increases three years in past 6 years . There is not enough Treasury bills mature at end of terms between 90 day to 30 years. I hope you understand the real problem Social Security is facing despite the fact that SS still owns over two trillion dollars worth of Treasury bills . it is dwindling fast and Congress is still in no hurry to do something about it and they just figure that skipping cost of living increases is the easy way out.. cheating retirees somewhat.. Congress is simply dragging feet and behind… somewhat trying to stretch things without getting retirees aroused or something.. It is deep in math that politicans may assume that retirees are too senile to follow ..

      • Thanks Gumby for a thoughtful and informed answer. It is refreshing to read something from someone who’s brain is not fried PC mush.

    • The problem with your question is that the questions are based upon either misinformation or political motivations. Nothing was removed from any trust fund for “unfunded wars”. And the White House wants to place caps and limit spending on MEDICAID, a welfare program, not MEDICARE, a part of the SS Act.

      • You’re absolutely correct, @AKA, except you don’t quite have all the facts about Congress’ plans for Medicare. The proposed budget actually calls for the same treatment of Medicare as Meficaid, the difference being Medicare won’t bebpaid to doctors or hospitals any more; instead, seniors will receive a fixed amount per person, with whichnto go find & purchase a plan from a private insurer on the “open market.” As we all know, thevreadon Medicare was created is that seniors tend to have health issues; even if they don’t, by the time you’re 60 you’ve had at least one treatment tjat insurers can use to deny almost any claim as a “pre-existing condition” or connected to one. So tjey couldn’t get health insurance at all; either the insurer charged outrageous costs for minimal coverage or wouldn’t insure them at all, meaning they had no medical treatment, no health CARE. The Republican plan will end Medicare. Insurers make profit by gouging those who can pay & save $ by not paying claims for sick people.Defense contractors profit because that’s where the grossly overfunded “defense” allocation is going – read the itemized “shopping list” in the actual bill @Congress.gov; it’s glaringly obvious they’re arming for war on a massive scale . Congressmen get their blood money oops, “contributions” and their illusion ifbpower & importance. Old and disabled people die, the herd is thnned, it’s a ein-win for all – except the unfortunate former Medicare beneficiaries who return to pre-1963 era poverty & unnecessary suffering & death. Where’s the dignity in That? Seems to me moreblike forced euthanasia.

    • Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system. Social Security taxes collected from today’s workers pay the benefits of today’s retirees. Any funds in excess of what is needed to pay today’s benefits are invested in special issue, U.S. Government, interest-bearing securities. This investment – the purchase of U.S. Government securities – is what constitutes the “borrowing” that people are sometimes concerned about. Any funds that have been “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust Funds have always been paid back in full, plus interest. Please check out our Trust Fund Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

    • That didn’t happen. The trust funds are invested in is treasury securities just like private investors buy, and backed by the full faith and.credit.of.our nation,.as.provided by our Constitution.

      If those bonds had been sold.on the open market private investors would have gotten the interest,taken out of our taxes, instead of.thr trust funds.

      And the trust funds would have to be.invested somewhere riskier.

      We definitely pay for our wars by borrowing. But we never raided the trust funds. They are invested in the same way since the very beginning under FDR.

      The trust funds hold only about 16% of The us debt, and that declines both because we keep borrowing more to pay for our military and because the fund balances decline as we baby boomers age and straw down the balances, as designed.

      What is not as designed is Congress failing yo make the small adjustments required to maintain benefits indefinitely. A small increase in revenue to match the demographic shifts 20 years ago would have been a simple fix. It still isn’t hard, but my generation got a bit of a free ride, we should have been paying a bit more. N0w my kids will have to.

      They also have to pay for the wars.

  2. Thank you, SSA. I would evaluate employers to instill what parents teach, we need and respect, all the qualities of working and aging, gracefully, together.

    Safeway, would be one, good example. When included in their merge with Albertson’s.

    Thank you, Social Security Administration.

    Through Grace Lutheran Church and School of San Mateo, CA.

  3. Thank God for Medicare! I became injured at work and I didn’t get better. The stress brought me great physical and mental anguish. I felt used and discarded by my workplace and society.

    I went from being independent with maintaining my own household, working full time (for 30 years) and attending school, to moving back with my parents, at age 45. I was unable to do any of the work I had done previously. I could hardly take care of myself.
    It took me long three years to get disability. It was worth the wait. The injuries I sustained would keep me from working for 10 years. In that time, I went through Michigan Rehabilitation. The support I received from MRS AND Social Security kept me safe and comfortable until I wasable to rethink my employability, update my skills and heal enough to return to work.
    I know for a fact that Social Security as a safety net is a real Blessing for many people. Rather than having to live on the streets, there is Social Security.

    • That’s great,I am 53 I was seriously injured at work, I was screwed over by comp,badly my atternies are still at an aw but I was approved for disability and it’s been all most four years no payments, but I do get Medicare, but with no money I just lost my house,because they don’t want to to hear it lost my transportation and now getting put on the street,with no were to go and I tried everything,so37 years of paying taxes, and doing right has got me nothing but heart aches and I still need more sergeries but,no money for prescription and others you only hear about good never,the thoisands,like me,and yes I loved my job it’s all I had,but I’m on my own,that’s fine but 4 years,that’s B.S.im not asking for anything I didn’t pay in,it’s getting more and more, terrible for honest hard workers who deserve it,I’m very happy for you GOD BLESS

      • @Ronnie Davis Sr: I’m so sorry,
        man. I know exactly what you’re going through; the same thing happened to me. Only I have no family, no friends, no children. I was disabled at 53. I lost my professional career, & with it my house, my credit, my spouse, my retirement, everything. Then 3 years ago my only son & 2 grandsons were cruelly taken. Now I’m 61 & alone & being evicted because I can’t afford the new rent increase on my already artificially inflated rent for the same old grungy apartment I’ve been in for 6 years. A 35+ year old building, appliances, carpet, plumbing, etc yet rent went from $650 6 years ago to $1350…in 6 years?? And it’s on the lower end of rentals in this entire metropolis here so nowhere else to go. And how could I move anywhere, anyway, disabled & with with zero $? I’m truly at the end of the line. No government benefits for me either; my SSDI, while not high ($1532) is just over the limit for housing help, SNAP, or anything else. But they’re cutting those out too, along with LEAP, which helped toward the astronomical utility bill, & Meals on Wheels, whichnis all i have to eat, period. You might want to thank God that you’ll keep your Social Security; my SSDI is getting cut a straight 20% across the board in the new budget. They think (many Congressmen stated on the record) disabled people on Social Security are just faking it, leeches, “too lazy to work” & those who really can’t work don’t really need much anyway…and besides, they’re family should take care of them. Congressmen actually said this on the floor. If I allow myself to think about it too long, it’s too terrifying – and truly sad – to bear. Apparently, if you’re older, disabled, alone, and lack enough funds to be a profitable little consumer any more, you have no further value to society, or so Republicans see it. Once there’s no more profit to be made from you, you’re just upkeep, & they just can’t justify wasting money to maintain anything that’s not generating any return. No reason to keep you alive, much less comfortable, healthy, or, God forbid, happy. And that’s what Donald Trump brought us. Not so much him as what his ignorance has allowed an out of control, all-Republican Congress & now SCOTUS to do to this country, & everyone in it. Perhaps I should be glad I’m this age & being terminated – at least I won’t have to experience fully the extent of the horrors to come that they’ve engineered.

  4. Do I need to sign up for Medicare if I am still employed? I don’t want to retire until I am 66 for the full social security benefits.

    • No, if you are covered by a medical plan thru your employer, you do not have to sign up for MEDICARE. You may want to however. You have to compare the coverage at work VS the coverage MEDICARE provides and then based upon that information pick out the best path for you.

    • Hi Janet, if you are actively working and covered under your employer’s group health insurance program, you can delay enrollment into Medicare Part B until you stop working or the health coverage is dropped. If you are 65 or older and not ready to start your monthly cash benefits yet, you can use our online retirement application to sign up for Medicare ONLY and apply for your retirement benefits later. We always suggest that individuals speak to their personnel office, health benefits advisor, or health plan coordinator to see what’s best for them, and to prevent any penalties or delayed enrollment in the future. To learn more about the Medicare enrollment periods visit http://www.Medicare.gov. We hope this information helps!

  5. when is this primitive backward excuse for a country going to stop incessantly wringing its cretinous hands over health care and do what CIVILIZED NATIONS have been doing for ages??

    Socialized medicine !!!!!!

    • Because this country is unique and is not like other countries, nor do we want to be. We have the freedom to decide if we want to live here or move to a Socialist country. I prefer the freedoms that the USA provides me, if you want socialism go somewhere that has it.

      • @AKA, clearly you have no idea what “socialism” means, much less what it actually is. Nevertheless, health CARE – not insurance – provided to all with everyone chipping in to pick.up the expense (ie, taxes, meaning US), is not “socialism.” Clearly, you believe that everyone contributing something towards the BASIC NECESSITIES of life for everyone is “socialism.” If you do, then you live in a socialist country yourself already – ever call the police, ambulance, fire department? Drive on the city streets or interstate highways? Go to a public school, library, national forest or campground? Drink clean water from the tap, flush the toilet??? THAT’S public services; things taxes pay for, things EVERY HUMAN needs to LIVE, including health CARE. “Life, liberty, & the pursuitbog happiness,” the “inalienable” rights we’re all guaranteed by our great country. If you get sick & don’t get treatment, you can spread it to everyone (1918 influenza epidemic, Black Plague, typhoid, polio ring a bell?), or you could die. Ergo, since life is a guaranteed right, to deny anyone medical care is violating our most fundamental right to life. And if “every life is sacred” (the overused catchphrase for abortion foes) then isn’t MY life as sacred as that of a fetus? I’m here NOW. Kids already born, older people, working people, poor people…are their lives “every life” too?Meaning sacred? If so, then it’s not only immoral, but violates our civil & human rights to deny us medical care. No one says we’re entitled to insurance, that was somebody’s idea of making a profit of our humanity. When you put profit in that picture, the reason for health care – ensuring we’re all healthy – changes to how to maximize profits, which is done hy charging the highest price for the lowest cost, ie, smallest posdible benegit to purchaser. You pay them to decide what they’re going to give you, which is not what you need but what’s cheapest for them.As I said in an earlier post, we’re only valuable as consumers, profit generators; not as human lives.

  6. Without Social Security, I WOULD NOT Be ALIVE TODAY to See Tomorrows. Leave HEALTH Care to the PEOple that CAN AFFORD it with the BUDGET that Our House Holds Can AFFORD. It”s NOT what YOU The Federal & State Gov. to want us to Pay… it’s What We Can AFFORD. Thank American Don’t Hurt US.

  7. If they have to eliminate anything than let it be Medicaid because we paid in to have both social security and Medicare.

  8. I’m turning 65yo Jan next year and already receiving social security benefits since age 62. I’m retired military and my DOD ID card expires on Dec 31 this year. I understand to be qualified for Tricare for Life, I need to have Medicare B. When do I apply for Medicare B? Thanks

    • Thank you for your question Rodrigo. You’re right, current law requires TRICARE beneficiaries who are entitled to Medicare Part A to enroll in Medicare Part B to retain their TRICARE benefits. If you are already getting Social Security retirement benefits, you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically. Please visit the TRICARE web page or contact your military health benefits advisor for more information. You can visit your nearest military installation for assistance in renewing your military ID card. We hope this information helps.

  9. i am on medicare and tricare…my wife recently visit a local hospital for some routine check ups…nothingvrequiring serious testing….she was with a doctor for 45 minutes and all was ok….well here is the KICKER…i received a statement for $1,543.00 but after deduction from tricare i needed to pay $164.00…no mention of medicare deductions….it appears that the doctor is scamming tricare out of $1,321.95 for 45 minutes of routine services…the call the servives as 13MLEVEL 3 ED W/O PROCEDURES….what ever that is i dont know….there wereno… tests involved in my wifes checkup…please email me rightaway as i have already protested thes charges….thank you

  10. My mother is on Medicare and has BCBS Advantage Supplemental insurance that includes prescription drug coverage. Does she need Medicare Part D?

  11. I’m on ssdi and 56 years old, just received notice Medicare eligible and will have to pay monthly. I have insurance through husbands retirement plan that we pay for, do I have to take part b and pay more?

  12. My name is Bonnie Cole. I turn 65 in July. I wish not to apply for medicare this year. I am employed full time and want to keep my insurance at work. What do I need to do? Thank you

  13. I a veteran with disabilities. I need to enroll in a Medicare/Medicaid plan that supports my VA as my Primary Care. That’s my goal. This entire site is exactly what I need. I will be following these recommendations the best I can. Thank you. (will be 65 9-17-2018).

  14. My mother has recently given my power of attorney for finances.
    How can I go about changing the address to receiver her mail from you? She is in a nursing home and we do not wish for her mail to go there.

    • Hi Cynthia. Since it sounds like your mother needs help managing her Social Security benefits, you may be interested in applying to become her representative payee. Please note that having a power of attorney, is not the same as being your mother’s payee. A power of attorney does not give you legal authority to negotiate and manage payments for someone receiving Social Security or SSI payments.
      You must apply for and be appointed as a representative payee by Social Security. If approved to serve as your mother’s representative payee, it will make it easier for you in the future to update account information for her.
      It would be helpful to obtain a statement from her doctor or the nursing home. The statement should say that your mother is not able -mentally and physically- to take care of herself and that you are the person responsible to keep her finances in order.
      We understand how inconvenient this may be for you, but hope you understand our role in protecting everyone’s personal information.
      Please read our publication: A Guide For Representative Payees. If you have specific questions, or to make an appointment, please call 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to speak to one of our representatives. Or you can contact your local Social Security office directly. Thanks!

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