2011-08-26 / Columnists

Social Security And You

Beat The Heat; Go Online
By John D’Agostino Manager, Far Rockaway Social Security Office

If the dog days of summer have you turning up the air conditioning or fan, here’s a hot tip to keep cool. When the time comes to apply for your Medicare benefits, don’t worry about trudging into the heat and making your way in the blazing sun to a Social Security office. Just pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea, sit back in the comfort of your home or office, and go to www.socialsecurity. gov.

Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is go online. You can use our online application to sign up for Medicare, even if you are not ready to retire. It takes less than 10 minutes.

Keep in mind that if you’re applying to start receiving Social Security benefits at age 65 or are already receiving benefits, your enrollment in Medicare is automatic and no additional application is needed. However, if you’re within four months of your 65th birthday and you plan to delay your retirement benefits, you should consider applying for Medicare.

Applying for Medicare on the Internet is convenient, quick, and easy. There’s no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if we need more information. Once we process your application, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail.

For more information about applying for Medicare only and delaying retirement benefits, read our Retirement Planner page: Applying for Medicare Online at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/ justmedicare.htm.

Once you’ve read over the information and reviewed your situation, you can make a clear decision on whether the time is right for you to apply for Medicare. When you’re ready to apply, here’s exactly what you need to do:

Go online to www.socialsecurity.gov and select “Apply for Medicare”;

Go through a series of questions that will help you consider either filing for retirement and Medicare benefits or only filing for Medicare;

Use the “More Info” links if you need more information;

Answer questions about current benefits you may be receiving, such as Medicaid or other health insurance; and Select “Sign Now” to send your application electronically to Social Security.

Social Security makes it easy to apply for Medicare and do a number of other things from the comfort of your home or office. Stay cool and visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

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