UNITED STATES—Hi Toni: I am turning 65 in June and am not working full-time with employer benefits. I was surprised when I called Social Security and the Social Security rep told me to go online to SSA.gov to enroll in Medicare. Due to the Pandemic (COVID-19), there is not a local Social Security office open that can help me in person if I have a problem with the online application. Opening a “My Social Security Account” has not been an easy process.

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

Beth: 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 B. It is Social Security that enrolls America in Medicare not Medicare.

Social Security processes all Medicare applications for Medicare. Medicare does not enroll their own applications. Is that confusing or what?

Beth, you mentioned that you are not receiving your Social Security check, not working full time with employer benefits and that Social Security advised you to enroll online. The best timeline for your Medicare to begin the month you turn 65 is to enroll within 3 months before turning 65. Visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to enroll in Medicare and 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” visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to enroll online for Medicare to begin the 1st day of the month that you turn 65:

  • Scroll down to “How to Apply Online for Just Medicare.
  • Follow the directions to “Apply and Complete” and start a new application.
  • Please have your SSA.gov username and password to begin enrolling in Medicare Parts A and/or B application online. (Very Important)

If you do not have a “My Social Security Account” please be aware that opening an account is not simple:

  • Starting a “My Social Security Account” does not begin your Social Security check.
  • Register yourself and your spouse for a “My Social Security Account” months before applying for Medicare so that you are ready to apply within 3-months prior to turning 65.
  • Visit ssa.gov/myaccount and click on the blue box with “Sign in with LOGIN.GOV after September 18, 2021, to open up a personal “My Social Security Account.” Those who have opened a SSA.gov account prior to September 18, 2021, use the top username and password boxes to sign in.

Local Social Security offices are closed because of the Pandemic (COVID-19), and one must call your local Social Security 800 number for help when not able to open a “My Social Security Account” due to being locked out.

Information on application to apply for Medicare is below:

  • Your information: Name, Social Security number, Gender, and Date of Birth.
  • Contact information with address, phone number, email address.
  • Citizen information about you.
  • Questions about your employer health benefits.
  • Submit your application online. View your receipt which explains additional information needed such as marriage license for those with under 40 quarters and applying under spousal benefits or citizenship papers to be verified.
  • Your new Medicare Card should arrive in the mail.

March’s “Live” Confused about Medicare Workshop in Katy Thursday, March 31 at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Spring Creek BBQ-Katy 21000 Katy Frwy, Katy, TX 77449. Workshop is free and dinner not included. RSVP 832-519-8664 or visit www.tonisays.com.

Toni’s new 2022Medicare Survival Guide® is available at www.tonisays.com.