UNITED STATES—Hi Toni: I’m turning 65 in July and not receiving my Social Security check. Last week I tried to open a “My Social Security” account to enroll in Medicare online and discovered that my Social Security account is blocked. Two years ago, someone falsely filed for a tax refund with my Social Security number. Now anything that involves me or my spouse’s Social Security number, credit report or IRS information is locked and cannot be used.

Can you please explain how I can enroll in Medicare when I cannot open a “My Social Security” account? Jodie from Las Vegas, NV.

Great question, Jodie:

Most Americans who are turning 65 and not receiving a Social Security check, one should apply for Medicare by visiting www.ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up at least three months prior to turning 65 for Medicare Parts A and B to begin the first day of the month turning 65.

But a fraud situation with your Social Security number can lock you out of opening a “My Social Security Account” prior to turning 65. Jodie, both you and your spouse’s Social Security numbers are locked by both the IRS and Social Security, and this is keeping you from applying for Medicare online.

For anyone who is locked out of their Social Security account due to a fraud situation, the quickest way to enroll is to visit a local Social Security office. You can find your specific Social Security office by searching online with your zip code. This office can unlock your Social Security number for both you and your spouse to open a “My Social Security” account and enroll you in Medicare online to begin the first day of the month you turn 65.

Jodie, I would advise you and your spouse to not leave that local Social Security office until your “My Social Security” account has been either re-opened or a new account has been started and your Medicare enrollment is finalized.

For those turning 65, who need to enroll in Medicare and do not have their Social Security account locked like Jodie’s is go online to www.ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up to enroll in Medicare.

If you do have a “My Social Security Account”:

  • Have your username and password handy to begin Medicare enrollment.

If you don’t have a “My Social Security Account”:

  • Open a “My Social Security Account” at www.ssa.gov/myaccount to be prepared to apply for Medicare Parts A and B when turning 65 and not working full-time with employer health insurance or covered by a spouse’s employer health insurance.

Here are the different situations for applying for Medicare when turning 65:

1) Turning 65 and Receiving your Social Security:

  • You should receive your “Welcome to Medicare” kit by mail with your new Medicare card 90 days prior to turning 65.

2) Turning 65 and NOT Receiving your Social Security check (this is Jodie’s situation):

  • You do not get an automatic “Welcome to Medicare” kit with your Medicare card.
  • You must visit SSA.gov to enroll in Medicare 90 days prior to turning 65 for your Medicare Parts A and B to begin the first day of the month you turn 65.

3) Turning 65 and still working with employer’s benefits:

  • Medicare allows you to delay your Medicare whether you or your spouse are working full-time with employer benefits (not retirement benefits).

If you think you are confused about how to enroll in Medicare when turning 65, wait until you jump into the maze of Medicare’s health and prescription drug plan options. (Chapter 1 of Toni’s Medicare Survival Guide Advanced edition explains ways to enroll in Medicare.)

Contact the Toni Says Medicare team at 832/519-8664 or email info@tonisays.com regarding your Medicare options. Toni’s new Confused about Medicare” video series is available at www.tonisays.com.