UNITED STATES—Morning Toni: I found that even when all the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed and the paperwork is filled out correctly that Social Security can still royally screw up.

I personally filled the paperwork for Medicare with the words in Red written across the top for the SEP because I was laid off from my company, just as the Toni Says Medicare team told me to do.

The Social Security folks still incorrectly entered and processed the paperwork after I left their office. It took three long telephone calls to get the information corrected, so that I wouldn’t have a Part B penalty forever.

What are the steps to make going to the Social Security office a little simpler? David from Tallahassee, FL.

Thank You, David: How to navigate the rules of the local Social Security office enroll in Medicare can be confusing and are mentioned below:

  • Do: When applying for Medicare Parts A and/or B when turning 65 and not receiving your Social Security check, one must go online to www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly at least 90 days prior you are turning 65. Social Security wants to streamline their system by enrolling America online.
  • Do: When applying for Medicare Parts A and/or B when past 65, a full-time working employee and leaving company benefits, be sure to have a signed “Request for Employment” applications filled out for yourself and/or spouse and signed by your HR department with “Special Enrollment Period” written in red.
  • Do: Go directly to the local Social Security office. Be sure to wait in line to speak with a representative and process your Medicare paperwork directly with the specific Social Security office. It is not advised to place paperwork in Social Security’s inside mail boxes or put in the mail.
  • Do: Always meet the local Social Security agent face to face.
  • Do: File a “Change of Life” form when your income has lowered because you had a change such not working or reduce hours of working, death of a spouse or divorce and are no longer make the income you made prior to enrolling in Medicare Part B. You must have Part B in place when filing a “Change of Life” form.
  • Do: Go to your area’s Congressman, if you cannot get your problem with Social Security processed correctly. Take your problem and how it has been processed to the Congressman in your area. Sign off that the Congressman’s assistants can speak for you and let the Congressman’s aide’s search deep into Social Security’s back office.
  • Do: Always, always receive copies of what the Social Security’s aide has processed.
  • Don’t: Give up!! If you believe someone has processed your paperwork wrong. Keep calling or go back to the local Social Security office. I have a client that filling his “Life Change Event” event form took 5 months of not giving up by going to the local Social Security office and calling various regional offices to have his problem solved…Never give up if you believe the paperwork is not processed properly.
  • Don’t: Mail copies back to the Social Security office. Always go in person.

Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in “people” terms is giving a $5 discount to the Toni Says® readers on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com. Have a Medicare question then, call the Toni Says® Medicare team at 832-519-8664.