It’s about that time – you’re getting ready for retirement. You’re excited to finally settle down and take advantage of the nest egg you’ve worked so hard to protect. Whether you’re retiring early at 62, or late at 70, you might be wondering if you need to claim Social Security when you retire. And if you don’t, does that affect your Medicare benefits?
Ultimately, no. Delaying your Social Security benefits do not affect your Medicare benefits. However, depending on when you retire, you’ll want to ensure you enroll in Medicare when you turn 65 so you aren’t at risk for late enrollment penalties.
What Is Social Security?
You’ve known all your life that Social Security exists, but you may not have known much about the program. When you’re researching retirement, it seems like all of these terms appear quickly, and it’s hard to sort through them. To make it simple to define, Social Security is a government program that provides economic security to retired seniors, people who are disabled, and their families. Since you’ve been working, you’ve paid towards Social Security. Now that you’re entering retirement, the money that current workers are paying towards Social Security come to you as a monthly check – much like a paycheck you might have received if you were still working.
Many seniors can begin receiving Social Security when they take early retirement. The retirement age for Social Security is as early as 62. If you choose to do this, you’ll receive a reduced benefit check each month, because you retired early. However, if you wait until your full retirement age or older, you’ll typically receive 100% of your benefits or an increased benefit check. This is why many people decide to delay their benefits if they retire early, or even if they retire on time. The latest you can put off getting your Social Security benefits is at 70 years old.
Can You Explain How Social Security and Medicare Work Together?
While Medicare can be confusing, the basics of Medicare are simple. Medicare provides your health coverage for you once you hit the age of 65. Unlike Social Security, you can’t get Medicare benefits early, unless you qualify for special circumstances, such as having a disability. While at some point you will have both Social Security and Medicare, this does not mean that you need to enroll in them at the same time.
For example, if you decide to retire at 63, you can take out Social Security if you feel like that’s the right decision for you. Because you’re not yet 65, you won’t be able to enroll in Medicare for another couple of years.
On the other hand, if you retire at 63, but decide you don’t want to take out Social Security benefits until you’re 67, you can do so without it affecting your Medicare enrollment. Because Social Security and Medicare are two different programs, you can enroll in Medicare before you take out Social Security benefits. This may be an option for you if you’re needing health coverage, but you want to wait to take out Social Security to get the maximum benefit check.
Keeping this in mind, it is important to note two important facts:
- Enrolling in Social Security when you turn 65 will automatically enroll you in Medicare Part B
- Most people do not have to pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A, so automatic enrollment doesn’t affect them
Whether you want to take out Social Security early or not, it is important to enroll in Medicare on time. Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, and Medicare Part D provide you with the coverage you need for hospital visits, doctor appointments, and prescription drugs.
Should I Get a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Because you will become eligible for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan when you enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B, you can enroll when you turn 65. Because of this, Medicare enrollment is not reliant on when you decide to take out your Social Security benefits. If you’re worried about the gaps that Medicare doesn’t cover, you might want to consider getting a Medicare Supplement plan to receive complete and full coverage. This will not only protect you, but it will protect your savings account in case of a medical emergency.
So What Are the Basics of Social Security and Medicare?
Now that we’ve gone through the basics of understanding Social Security and Medicare, we can provide a quick recap:
- You can typically take out Social Security benefits as early as 62. The earlier you take out benefits, the less you’ll receive on your monthly benefit checks.
- Social Security enrollment is not required to enroll in Medicare.
- It is important to enroll in Medicare as soon as you turn 65 – you can’t push that off, unlike Social Security. You’ll have a penalty.
- If you enroll in Social Security when you turn 65, it will automatically enroll you in Medicare Part A. Most people receive Part A premium-free.
- You can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan as soon as you enroll in Medicare Part A and B, regardless if you have Social Security or not.
We understand how confusing it can be, and we want you to know – you’re not alone in the process. We’re here to help you and walk you through the process of enrolling in Medicare, your Medicare Supplement plan, and any other questions that come up when you retire. Medicare shouldn’t be stressful. We’re here for you to make sure that it isn’t.
Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.