A large component of many people’s retirement plans is Social Security and Medicare. If you are nearing your retirement age, it is important that you understand each of these programs so that you can get the greatest benefits from them. Elder Care Direction is able to explain these programs so that you can make more informed decisions.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is a health insurance program for elderly people and the disabled. It was introduced because many private companies refused to cover disabled people and the elderly. Medicare is offered by the federal government and is paid for with taxes that you pay from your paychecks during your working career.
Applying for Medicare
When you become eligible to apply for Medicare, you will have a number of options. The Medicare choices that you might have include the following:
- Part A, which is hospital insurance
- Part B, which is medical insurance
- Prescription drug coverage
- Disability and survivors benefits
What is Social Security?
The Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935 during the Great Depression. It is a social insurance program that you pay for through payroll deductions throughout your career. Today, Social Security benefits make up most of many older people’s incomes.
Why delaying Social Security might be smart
Once you are eligible for Social Security, you can decide when to start receiving your benefits. It is important for you to understand how your start date might affect your monthly check, however.
If you begin receiving your benefits prior to when you reach your retirement age, you will receive a smaller benefit for a greater number of years. If you wait until after you have reached your retirement age, you will receive a larger benefit for fewer years. Postponing the start date of your Social Security benefits may provide you with larger benefits when you need them.
Qualifying for Social Security and Medicare
Elderly people who have paid into the Social Security system while they were working are eligible to receive Social Security if they have earned enough work credits. For people who were born after 1929, they must have worked for 10 years to qualify. People who do not have enough work credits may qualify based on their spouse’s work record, however.
In addition to elderly people, those who have mental illnesses or physical conditions that prevent them from working might be able to receive Social Security disability benefits even if they are younger than age 65. If your disability prevents you from working, you might be able to receive SSDI and Medicare.
Spousal Social Security benefits
Married people are able to receive Social Security benefits based on the work records of their spouses. When they do, it doesn’t affect the benefits amount of the original recipient. You may be eligible to receive Social Security spousal benefits if the following applies:
- Is age 62 or older
- Your spouse earned sufficient work credits
- Your spouse is receiving disability or retirement benefits
- You are caring for a disabled child or a child under the age of 16
In addition to current spouses, ex-spouses may also be eligible to claim benefits based on their former spouses’ work records. To qualify based on your ex-spouse, you must have been married for a minimum of 10 years and are unmarried.
Contact Elder Care Direction
Understanding Social Security and Medicare is crucial as you are getting older. Elder Care Direction can give you information about both of these programs and the timing of when you should apply. To learn more, call us today to schedule an appointment.