UNITED STATES—Help Toni: I am turning 65 in July and last week I tried to open a “My Social Security” account to enroll in Medicare online, but my Social Security account is locked out.  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 blocked. Please explain how I can enroll in Medicare because I cannot open a “My Social Security” account?   Jodie from Dallas, TX.

Great question, Jodie: Since you are locked out of your Social Security account due to a fraud situation, the only way to enroll is working directly with a Social Security office. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing, it has made enrolling in Medicare difficult because most Social Security offices are closed.

The Toni Says Medicare office has found the solution since each Social Security office has its own 800 number and you can call them directly with a 15-plus minute wait instead of calling the main Social Security 800 number holding for 2 plus hours or not getting an answer.

When you contact your designated Social Security office and advise the agent who takes your call that you are locked out of your Social Security account the Social Security representative will schedule a telephone appointment to enroll you over the phone.

With Social Security representatives working from home due to COVID-19, do not be surprised if it will take a few weeks before your appointment date. Last week while I was assisting a client with their Medicare planning, he was blessed because an appointment had just cancelled, and Steve was able to have a Social Security representative call him the next day.

It is important to remember that if one is turning 65, and not receiving a Social Security check, they should apply for Medicare at least 3 months prior to turning 65 for Medicare Parts A and B to begin the first day of the month turning 65.

For those turning 65, who need to enroll in Medicare and do not have their Social Security account locked, should go online to www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to enroll online for Medicare.

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

  • please have your username and password handy to begin your Medicare enrollment in Parts A and/or B application.

If you do not have a “My Social Security Account”:

  • Please register yourself and your spouse now for a “My Social Security Account” by visiting www.ssa.gov/myaccount to be prepared when you are ready to apply for Medicare Parts A and B when turning 65, not working full-time with employer health insurance or covered by a spouse’s employer health insurance.
  • Opening a “My Social Security Account” has recently changed and now uses your current state driver’s license as well as a Mastercard or Visa credit card (not a bank debit card) to verify who you are.
  • For some reason you are not able to open a “My Social Security Account”, you will have to call your local Social Security office to schedule an appointment by telephone to open a “My Social Security Account”.

Think you are confused about how to enroll in Medicare when turning 65, then jump into the maze of Medicare when you or your spouse need to explore your Medicare health and prescription drug plan options.

For help enrolling in Medicare contact the Toni Says® office at 832-519-8664 or email info@tonisays.com. The 2021 Confused about Medicare Zoom webinar is Thursday, April 1 at 4 p.m. Visit www.tonisays.com to sign up for Toni’s new webinar event. The 2021 Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book is available at www.tonisays.com.