Social Security and Medicare Are Lasting Sources of Independence

July 3, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: July 15, 2021

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 our Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs page.

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 Medicare Benefits page to learn more about applying for Medicare.


See Comments

About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Ben

    Gumby, Ray, and Bob (and any others that are knowledgeable about SS): Are billions of dollars being “redirected” from the general Social Security fund to states in order to fund Title IV-D programs? I’ve recently started researching the issue of SSA funds depletion by the Social Security Title IV-D Program. I can’t find much information and SSA reps avoid speaking or writing about it. Does anyone have information as to the actual annual amounts of our SS contributions being used to fund adoption and child support programs? Here’s a like to one article I found on the topic.

    Apparently, states have financial incentives to place children in homes other than with relatives. It’s like a compensation program where they have to meet certain metrics to get paid. States are also incentivized to max out child support collections (regardless of the children’s actual expenses) in order to meet their metrics for optimal federal funding. In order to reach maximum child support withholding, one of the parents must be restricted to minimal time with the children. This results in parental alienation. At the same time, our Social Security contributions are being funneled to states so they can balance their budgets. What do you all know about this? I need help in getting actual data.

    Here’s a letter dated Marcy 22, 2017 written by various family organizations to Trump, Pence, and the US Department of Health and Human Services regarding the topic.

    This “matching scheme” effectively bribes state family courts to maximize child support
    awards by re-arranging child custody between parents to impose an artificial “visitor” parent and
    “custodial” parent status. Almost without exception, the family court designates the high-wage earner
    parent as a “visitor” who is thereafter required to pay child support to the “custodial”
    parent. “Visitor” parents who fail to make child support payments are frequently jailed—even if
    they are unable to pay.


    My mother Drug use she been doing this start 200 to 2016 she have been assault her own daughter to beat up she get pay on this to she don’t need no excuse money that she don’t need all really want her Drug this it’s I have been us my daughter buy drugs

  3. B. D.

    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.

  4. Hospitals &.

    The Office of the federal Attorney General was created in the Judiciary Act of 1789. The U.S. Department of Justice was founded by the 1870 Act to Establish the Department of Justice.. The Department’s FY 2018 Discretionary Budget request totals $27.7 billion, including $25.8 billion for federal programs, and a net $1.9 billion for state, local, and tribal colonialism instead of undistributed offsetting receipts. $27.7 billion, FY18 is less than the FY 17 budget request. For the written portion, FY 18 congressional budget request is much better than FBI self-incrimination of the previous year, but fails to explain outlays by agency under 31USC§101. For the mathematical portion the FY 18 summary of appropriations fails to make sense of the subtotal addition errors. DOJ does seem cognizant that scorekeeping credits are not a generally accepted accounting practice (GAAP) and there is now a distinct line between discretionary and mandatory portions of the budget to estimate discretionary outlays and undistributed offsetting receipts of perjury. The total outlay estimate is thought to be accurate enough, although it cannot do justice to total budget authority until the FY 18 reports of the US Trustees, Antitrust Pre-merger Filing Fee and Asset Forfeiture Fund that are elaborated in the second table below using FY 17 figures that agreed with total budget authority estimates of the Department. The errors in the subtotals of the Justice Department are believed to be the result of, double jeopardy in the computer code, regarding computing copied tabulated figures whose digits must be entered manually for the Microsoft Office Word table equation to function without Perjury under 18USC§1621.

    The FY 18 budget fails to legalize marijuana and reduce the deficit by ten billion dollars by abolishing the FBI, DEA, state and local law enforcement assistance, and the US Marshall interagency drug and crime task force under the Slavery Convention of 1926 (abolition of non-law enforcement and forest labor) as requested by more than 300 economists and 600 churches to the White House during the 114th Congress. Some minor irregularities have been ironed out. The US Marshall’s are no longer stating +/- 10.4% growth FY 17 nor free of Tampering with a witness, victim or an informant under 18USC§1512. There is a distinct levy for DEA drug war FY 18 and this constitutes treason under 18USC§2381. “First Amendment Privacy Protection” needs to be restored to litigation and legislation to better protect the population from unlawful search and seizure of their work product under 42USC§2000a(a). Marijuana is not a legal pregnancy test to make single mothers of Medicaid parents, families with babies are the poorest poor in the nation, they must not be enslaved without compensation when their conviction using unlawfully obtained evidence is overturned and the potentially poisoned drugs and perishables in the evidence room are destroyed and not diverted into drug war. Federal jail and prison could use some unadulterated marijuana – prison grown. The levy for the DEA must be abolished or reduced below levels criticized by the 114th Congress right away, in a public way for the Attorney General to wipe the treason from his Puerto Rican flag and wash his hands because robbing and enslaving the pregnant poor to levy Philippine style drug war, Dimethoxymethylamphetamine (DOM) rampage shootings, opiate overdoses and even poison hemlock tampers with the law of victim witnesses under 18USC§1512.

    The American killing Attorney General has unlawfully enriched DOJ accountability, a little bit, but still can’t add subtotals due to double jeopardy in copying computed numbers that must entered manually to compute grand totals in Microsoft Word, at the total expense and agency instrumentalities used in the ED FY 18 budget by enabling the US Marshalls to take the ED Secretary hostage to secure schools against more rampage shootings. The DEA induced shootings are now aiming at bars and hospitals, no more blaming Republicans. Justice requires the Attorney General to be equally taken into legal custody by the US Marshall to protect the nation against DEA rampage shootings under the influence of his instantly lethal levy for Philippine style drug war by the DEA in contempt of conventional wisdom. The authority for employment of the FBI and DEA Senior Executive Service under 5USC§3151-§3152 has needed to be abolished since the Slavery Convention of 1926 and is long overdue for force reduction under 5CFR§351.803.

    The injustice is that it is the DEA and FBI hypocrites must be laid off by OPM, not the civilian officials. If the civilian officials are wrongfully terminated, it is proposed that the anarchist DEA and FBI agents will be insured by Social Security only as punishment, more for the advocacy of the overthrow of the government inherent in the threatened wrongful termination of tens of thousands of civilian government officials than Hostage taking under 18USC§1203 in contempt of Blakely v. Washington (2004) constitutes both provision of material support for terrorism and harbor and concealment of terrorists under 18USC§2339 and provision of material support to terrorists under 18USC§2339A. Fire the arsons. Correction: Trump Trail coast to coast National Trail System Act of 1968 under 16USC§1246(h)(1). To do the Presidential treason justice it is necessary the 7th HA stage of Democratic-Republican (DR) two party surplus parliamentary development to tax the rich to end child poverty by 2018 calls for as force reduction of all 50,000 DEA and FBI agents because it could be the only disability retirement estimate OPM needs to crunch to get their budget and the Sentencing Commission and DEA-Free state health licensed Judiciary FY 18 published by light of Independence Day!!!

    The federal prison is not going to grow like the President falsely declares before a grand jury or court under 18USC§1623. The President has not taken any hostages under 18USC§1203. He must pardon the hostages left after the Commutation of Sentences for Arbitrary Arrest, Detention or Exile HA-8-8-16. The United States has the highest number (2.2 million) and concentration of prisoners (746 per 100,000 residents) in the world. The detainee population must go down to the international norm of less than 250 per 100,000. Any terrorism finance to the federal prison by the President is anticipated to be subjected to a new $440 million rescission of balance at end of year FY18 that will reduce building expenses to record lows. The United States must continue to safely reduce the number of innocent prisoners lying in federal and state prisons and county jails during the 114th Congress. Mandatory minimum sentences, and any sentencing regime but the statutory maximum, must abolished under Blakely v. Washington (2004) and the Slavery Convention of 1926. The United States continues to have the burden of proving crime victims are paid cash under Arts. 14 of the International Convention against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Punishment or Treatment and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    1. US Prison population quintupled from 503,586 detainees (220 per 100,000) in 1980 to a high of 2,307,504 (755 per 100,000) in 2008 before quietly going down to 2,217,947 (696 per 100,000). A considerable amount of the increase is the result of the sentencing for drug crimes. From 1995 to 2003, inmates in federal prison for drug offenses have accounted for 49% of total prison population growth. Mid-year 2014 there were 744,592 people detained in local jails, and 1,473,355 in state or federal prisons at year-end. The prison population rate was 693 detainees per 100,000 residents at year-end 2014 based on an estimated national population of 320.1 million at end of 2014. In 2013 20.4% of people behind bars were pre-trial detainees. 9.3% were female. 0.3% were juveniles. 5.5% were foreign prisoners. There are estimated to be a total of 4,575 penal institutions – 3,283 local jails at 2006, 1,190 state confinement facilities at 2005, 102 federal confinement facilities at 2005. The official capacity of the penal system was 2,157,769 with a occupancy level of 102.7% (2013). To preliminarily compensate the impoverished victims of their miscarriages of justice and parolees who have served their sentence and been released from prison the Commissioner of Social Security has been ordered to develop a Pre-release procedure for institutionalized persons under which an individual can apply for supplemental security income benefits prior to the discharge or release of the individual from a public institution under Sec. 1631 of Title XVI of the Social Security Act 42USC§1383(m).

  5. Lesly F.

    Say word ! Word it mean nothing.Sorry! Sorry! Social Security Administration.

  6. brian

    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 !!!!!!

    • AKA

      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.

      • Marc

        @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.

        • connie c.

          Thank you Marc! Sick of listening to the propaganda about socialism from citizens.

  7. Janet H.

    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.

    • brian

      with this immoral governemnt grab social security as soon as you can while its there!

    • AKA

      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.

    • Ray F.

      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 We hope this information helps!

  8. Karen W.

    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.

    • ronnie d.

      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 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

      • Marc

        @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.

  9. Barbara K.

    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.

    • AKA


  10. S. L.

    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?

    • Tom

      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.

      • Claireify

        How condescending is this “advice”. Seriously.

        • toni p.

          love it! can’t ever get ahold of anyone at SS, and then if you do they don’t give you the correct info anyway
          posting for a friend that’s getting the run a round

          • Ray F.

            Through our social media channels, we respond to questions and provide general information on our Retirement, Survivors, Disability, Medicare and SSI programs. If you have a general question, we encourage you to ask here. However, we remind you to be cautious about posting personal information on social media.
            Most Social Security services do not require a visit to a local office. Many services, including applying for retirement, disability or Medicare benefits, signing up for direct deposit, replacing a Medicare card, obtaining a proof of income letter or informing us of a change of address or telephone number are conveniently available at our website or by dialing our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks!

    • Gumby

      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 ..

      • John

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

    • AKA

      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.

      • Marc

        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; 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.

    • Ray F.

      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.

    • Bob K.

      That didn’t happen. The trust funds are invested in is treasury securities just like private investors buy, and backed by the full faith 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.

      • Bob K.

        Straw down => draw down. Aging eyes make for bad proofreading..

    • connie c.

      Are you Sherrie Ludwig?Whose parents were Jack and Bernie?

Comments are closed.