No Application Required

Generally, in order to begin receiving Social Security benefits, you must submit an application to the Social Security Administration. Similarly, an application is required (in general) in order to receive Medicare benefits. But there are some circumstances where you can begin receiving Social Security benefits or Medicare without the need for an application.

In general, these cases are situations where you’re already receiving Social Security benefits on another program, such as Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), and you’ve reached Full Retirement Age (FRA).

When a Medicare application is not required
  • If you’re already receiving Social Security retirement benefits or SSDI and you reach age 65, you do not need to submit an application to enroll for Medicare. You are automatically enrolled for Medicare in these instances.
  • Additionally, if you’re receiving Disability Benefits (SSDI) and are under age 65, once you’ve been receiving SSDI for 24 months, you are automatically enrolled for Medicare benefits.
  • Also, if you’re signing up for Social Security retirement benefits and you’re over age 65, you are automatically enrolled for Medicare, no application required.
When an application for Social Security benefits is not required
  • If you are receiving SSDI benefits and reach your Full Retirement Age (FRA), you do not need to submit an application to continue your Social Security benefits as retirement benefits. This conversion is automatic.
  • Likewise, if a child is receiving benefits and reaches age 18, an application is not needed if the child will continue receiving benefits after his or her 18th birthday due to disability or contiuation of school attendance. The extension is automatic.
  • If you’re receiving SSDI and become ineligible for the benefits due to earnings above the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit, and then later your earnings fall below the threshold, a new application is not required. This is applicable during the extended period of eligibility after a trial work period.
  • If a child is receiving an auxiliary (dependent) benefit based on the record of a living parent’s record and the parent dies, the conversion from dependent’s benefits to surviving dependent’s benefits is automatic as long as the child is otherwise eligible for the surviving dependent’s benefit.
  • The same goes for a conversion from a spousal benefit to survivor benefits when the spouse or ex-spouse dies – your benefit will convert to the surviving spouse’s benefit with no application needed. It’s important to note that this conversion can be avoided since deemed filing does not apply to survivor’s benefits; you can revert to your own retirement benefit alone (just remove the spousal excess benefit) and dely receipt of the survivor benefit to a later date if that would be advantageous to you.

This is not an exhaustive list of all situations where an application is not needed, so be sure to check with Social Security to see if an application is required for your specific circumstances.

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jim@blankenshipfinancial.com (Jim Blankenship)

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