UNITED STATES—Hi Toni: I am turning 65 in March and called Social Security for help with enrolling in Medicare. I was surprised when Social Security told me to go online to sign up. They did not want me to go to the Social Security office to sign up and that I now need to start a “My Social Security Account” to begin the process.

I am concerned that if I go online, I will have to begin receiving my Social Security check. I retired in 2016 and want to not begin my Social Security check until I am 70.

Can you please explain in simple terms where to go online, so that I can enroll in Medicare the right way? Thanks in advance, Carla from Arizona

Carla: With budget problems, Social Security discovered 2 years ago how much payroll or should I say “our” tax dollars could be saved by finally going online to have people file for their Medicare cards when they were turning 65 and not receiving their Social Security check.

You ask, what does a Social Security check have to do with me receiving my Medicare card? I have been filing taxes for years.

Remember, nothing is easy with a government system and enrolling in Medicare is no different. Unless you are receiving your Social Security check at least 90 days prior to turning 65, then Medicare has no idea that you are turning 65 and should be receiving your Medicare card with Parts A and/or B because Social Security doesn’t know that you are turning 65.  Social Security processes all Medicare applications for Medicare. Medicare does not enroll their own applications.

Carla, you mentioned that you are not receiving your Social Security check, not working full time with true company benefits and that Social Security advised you to enroll online. The best timeline is 90 days prior to turning 65 to the month prior to your 65th birthday and you should visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to enroll for Medicare to begin the 1st day of the month you turn 65.

When you begin the process of enrolling in Medicare, Social Security will ask if you have a have a “My Social Security account.”

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

•        Please have your user name and password handy to begin your Medicare enrollment in Parts A and/or B application.

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

•        Carla starting a “My Social Security Account” does not begin your Social Security check.

•        Please register yourself and your spouse now  for a “My Social Security Account” months before applying for Medicare to be prepared when you are ready to apply when turning 65 and need to apply for both Medicare Parts A and/or B with an account by visiting www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

•        You should know your credit history because Social Security will pull credit information from your credit history to verify that this information is unique to only your and/or your spouse’s credit file. Don’t worry this confuses many.

•        Can’t open a “My Social Security Account” then you may need to call Social Security at 1/800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office for help. This system stops those with the highest education. It is not easy!

•        Call the Toni Says office at 832/519-8664 or email info@tonisays.com for assistance.

•        Next week, the discussion is what information will be needed to enroll in Medicare online turning 65.

Is the maze of Medicare confusing you? Visit www.abbs4u.com and attend ABBS (American Baby Boomer Society) Medicare courses for more Medicare education.

Happy New Year from Toni and the Toni Says® team with a $5 discount on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book and bundle packages for the Toni Says® newspaper article readers at www.tonisays.com. Email questions to info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-8664.