Social Security Tips – December 2019

Do you think your Medicare income-related premium is wrong?

 

Social Security cares about accuracy. We want to ensure that your clients get the exact benefit amount that they deserve. Changes in the law affect how we calculate monthly Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums.

 

  • Medicare Part B provides coverage for physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items. Most beneficiaries will pay a standard premium for Part B coverage. Some beneficiaries may also pay a late enrollment surcharge. A small number of beneficiaries with higher incomes will pay a higher Part B premium based on their income.

 

  • Medicare prescription drug coverage helps pay for prescription drugs. Plan costs vary depending on the plan, and on whether you get Extra Help with your portion of the Medicare prescription drug costs. A small number of beneficiaries with higher incomes will pay a higher prescription drug premium based on their income.

 

If you receive a letter from Social Security indicating you must pay more for your Medicare Part B or Medicare prescription drug coverage premium because of your income, and you disagree with the decision, you may request an appeal. The fastest and easiest way to file an appeal is by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/appeal.

 

Additional information is at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10125.pdf.

 

If your income has gone down due to certain specific circumstances, or if you filed an amended tax return, you can ask for a new decision without having to file an appeal. See our fact sheet, Medicare Premiums: Rules for Higher-Income Beneficiaries (SSA Publication No. 05-10536) at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10536.pdf. You don’t have to file an appeal to get a new decision.

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Social Security offices nationwide will be open to the public on Wednesday afternoons.

 

This change restores Wednesday public service hours that were last in place in late 2012.  Currently, a field office is generally open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to Noon on Wednesdays.  Beginning on January 8, 2020, offices will remain open until 4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, with typical field office hours from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

While the agency continues to improve both the access to and the experience with its services, it is important to note that most Social Security services do not require the public to take time to visit an office.  People may create a my Social Security account, a personalized online service, at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

 

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The Q&A for the month:

Question: Can my client, age 64, file early for her own retirement benefit before FRA (age 66 and 2 mos), and then at her FRA, switch to a survivor benefit and still receive 100% of ex-spouses FRA amount.   (ex-spouse – married more than 10 yrs, neither remarried) who was 63 at his passing.

Answer: Yes, she can file for reduced retirement benefits on her own record and switch over to an unreduced surviving divorced widow’s benefit at her full retirement age. Keep in mind that her full retirement age for retirement benefits is different than her full retirement age for survivor benefits. If she was born in 1955, her FRA for retirement is 66 and 2 months and her FRA for widow’s benefits is 66. Check out the link for confirmation of this information: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou.html#h3. Specifically, this paragraph: In many cases, a widow or widower can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then, at full retirement age, switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate.

 

 

Need a good retirement resource? Check out the recently uploaded Facebook Live video on YouTube!

 

 

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