Are you reaching “full retirement age”?
If so, you can collect social security benefits regardless of how much you are earning as an active member of the Medford Retirement System. “Full retirement age” is 66 for anyone who was born between 1943 and 1954. If you will be 66 in the current year, Social Security has no earnings restrictions beginning the month you turn 66. You may be eligible for:
– benefits based on your own work history;
– a survivor benefit if your spouse is deceased and had enough work under the social security system;
– benefits on your current spouse’s work record, but only if your spouse is receiving social security payments; or
– benefits as a divorced spouse married 10 years and not currently remarried. You should contact Social Security to discuss your personal situation.
Further, as an active member of the Medford Retirement System collecting social security benefits your benefits are not subject to reduction by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) or Government Pension Offset (GPO).
Are you still actively employed, collecting social security benefits, and planning to retire in current year?
If so, please be sure to complete your Medicare enrollment. If you have health insurance through your employer, you should contact Social Security 3-4 months before you retire and request the forms for Medicare Part B, HCFA 40B and Form L564. If your spouse is covered under your health plan as well, and is over age 65, your spouse will also need to complete these forms. Be sure to write “SPECIAL ENROLLMENT” on the top of all forms.
The Medicare Part B forms can be mailed to your local Social Security office certified mail, return receipt requested. It should take approximately 3-4 weeks to receive your new Medicare card.
Your employer will assist you with any supplemental plans which will work seamlessly with Medicare Parts A and B.
Please note you will not incur a penalty for delaying your Part B filing beyond age 65 because Form L564, completed by your employer, will verify your active employment dates. Your Medicare Part B will effective the first month you are retired as will your supplemental plan coverage.
Are you retired from the Medford Retirement System and turning age 65? Will your spouse who is covered under your health plan turn age 65 this year?
If the answer to either of these questions is “yes”, you must apply for Medicare Parts A and B. This should be done 3-4 months prior to your 65th birthday month. If you do not want to collect Social Security benefits at age 65, you can file for Medicare only. It will take a few minutes of your time and can be completed online at www.ssa.gov/medicare.
Medicare becomes effective the first day of the month you turn 65, regardless of what day of the month you were born. However, if your birthday is the 1st day of the month, Social Security “deems” you to be born the month before and Medicare will need to be in effect the month before. For example, if you are born May 1st, Medicare coverage will begin April 1st. Plan accordingly as timing is important. If you are already receiving social security benefits and you will turn 65 this year, the Social Security Administration will automatically enroll you in both Parts A and B and a Medicare card will be mailed to you approximately 4 months before your 65th birthday.
Are you a retired member of the Medford Retirement System planning to apply for Social Security Benefits in the current year?
If so, please contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 in January to discuss your personal situation. Social Security will advise you when you should apply and for what benefits you are eligible. Regardless of the payment option you selected at the time of your retirement from the Medford Retirement System, you will need to provide the Social Security Administration with proof of your gross monthly Option A retirement allowance. Social Security uses the Option A amount because this is the total benefit earned during your career with Medford Retirement System.
The Option A amount will be used when calculating the Windfall Elimination Provision and the
Government Pension Offset. Please note that the WEP and GPO will affect your Social Security payments from the first month you are receiving both Social Security benefits and your retirement allowance from the Medford Retirement System.
You can apply for social security benefits online at www.ssa.gov/retirement. If you prefer, you may call 1-800-772-1213 to make an in-office appointment or a telephone appointment.
Applying for Medicare
Members should sign up for Medicare three months before reaching age 65, even if you are not ready to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits. You may file online at www.socialsecurity.gov. When applying online for Medicare ONLY, you automatically exclude cash benefits. You must later file a new application for Social Security retirement benefits. With the online application, you can sign up for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Part B coverage is optional, but you must sign up for Part B if you are already retired from the city when you turn age 65. If you choose not to enroll in Medicare Part B and then decide to do so later, your coverage may be delayed, and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you have Part B. Your monthly premium will go up 10% for each 2-month period you were eligible for Part B, but did not sign up for it, unless you qualify for a “Special Enrollment Period.”
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
If you have medical insurance coverage under a group health plan based on your or your spouse’s current employment, you may not need to apply for Medicare Part B at age 65. You may qualify for a “Special Enrollment Period” (SEP) that will let you sign up for Part B during:
– any month you remain covered under the group health plan and your, or your spouse’s, employment continues; or
– the 8-month period that begins with the month after your group health plan coverage or the employment on which it is based ends, whichever comes first.
Members should contact the Social Security Administration three months prior to retiring from the Medford Retirement System. You should request Form 40B and Form L564. Form 40B is completed and signed by you. Form L564 is completed by your employer to verify your dates of health insurance coverage. Social Security needs this form to be sure there is no penalty for late filing. You should return both forms, via certified mail, to your local Social Security Administration office. Within 4-6 weeks you will receive a new Medicare card showing Part A and Part B coverage. The Part B date should be the first day of the month you are retired.
Part B premiums will be deducted from your Social Security payments. If you do not receive Social Security payments, you will be billed quarterly.
Medicare will be your primary health insurance. It will cover 80% of your inpatient and outpatient costs. Medicare has deductibles which usually will be covered by your secondary insurance. Your employer may offer “supplemental plans” which will cover 20% of your costs and, in most cases, absorb the Medicare deductibles. Your supplemental plan begins the month you are enrolled in both Part A and Part B. The supplemental plans usually offer a Part D prescription drug plan as well. Any plan you choose will work seamlessly with Medicare Parts A and B. These health insurance premiums for the employer supplemental plans are deducted
from your Medford retirement allowance.