UNITED STATES—Toni: I had no problem opening the “My Social Security” account to enroll in Medicare because I knew those answers. When it came to filling out the application for Medicare that was another story.

I had a problem with some of Medicare’s personal questions. I knew my name, address, Date of Birth, Social Security number, etc. When it came to what kind of citizen that was another issue because I am not a US born American, but a naturalized citizen. I was born in Greece and am proud to say that I received my American citizenship about 15 years ago. The application asked me what was the date I became a US citizen and I could not answer that exact date and had to estimate. Now I must mail my original citizenship papers to the local Social Security office because the Social Security offices are closed due to COVID-19.

Toni, America needs to know that even though this is supposed to be an easier process that it does have a few kinks which can be confused those with more than a high school degree.  Please let your readers know not to give up when having a problem, had my wife and I not scheduled a Medicare consultation at the Toni Says® office I would have been totally lost applying online.  Thanks, Nick from Tampa, FL.

Nick: What a great compliment! I was very glad to find out that you found your original citizenship papers and could get them to your local Social Security office after you had hidden them so well that it took you time to find them.

Let’s discuss how to apply online and a few of the problems we are discovering when helping others apply for Medicare online when turning 65 by going online to www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare.

Last week, Social Security changed the process of opening a “My Social Security Account” which is a complete relief. To open a “My Social Security Account,” one needs a valid driver’s license and a credit card or bank debit card that can verify its last 8 numbers.

If you cannot proceed with applying for Medicare without opening a “My Social Security Account” than what?  Contact your local Social Security office by phone or call 1-800-772-1213 and inform the Social Security agent that you are not able to open a Social Security account and are locked out and you need help.

Information to apply only for Medicare online is below:

1)       Begin with your information:  Name, Social Security number, Gender and Date of Birth

2)       Contact information with address, phone number, email address

3)       Citizen information about you with what language you read and speak

4)       Questions about your health benefits

5)       Then submit your application online and view your receipt which explains what additional information may be needed such as a marriage license when you are short of 40 quarters and applying under your spouse’s Medicare benefits or may be like Nick and must get your original citizenship papers. In the day of COVID-19, you must now mail the original documents to the local Social Security office or the address which the 1-800-772-1213 gives to have your documents verified and mailed back.

6)       Your beneficiary verification letter which comes first and includes your Medicare number and Part A and/or B dates. Your new Medicare Card comes next, then one can enroll in a Medicare Supplement and a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan which includes Medicare Part D.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving 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 info@tonisays.com  for Medicare questions.