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Understanding Social Security and Medicare

Social Security and Medicare are both federal programs. Together, these programs help those no longer working due to retirement or disability. There are similarities and differences between these two programs. In some ways they work together and yet, they are two separate programs. Just because you qualify for one doesn’t mean you’ll immediately qualify for the other.

Are Medicare and Social Security the Same Thing?

No, these two programs are different. Although, these programs do have some similarities. Both programs help those in retirement or on disability. Medicare provides health insurance, while Social Security provides a monthly income.

What are the differences between Medicare and Social Security?

When you retire or go on disability, you get a Social Security check. The Social Security Administration will determine Medicare eligibility and handle some of Medicare’s administrative work, like enrollment. While these programs serve different purposes, both programs are funded through payroll taxes, provide benefits to those eligible, and help people with certain disabilities. While they are different programs, the National Committee to preserve Social Security and Medicare helps to keep both programs protected.

Can I File for Medicare Without Social Security

Yes, you can file for Medicare without Social Security. If you don’t collect Social Security benefits, you’ll need to pay the Part B premium directly. Then, once you begin taking benefits, you can have the premium deducted from your social security check.

Can You Get Medicare If You’ve Never Worked?

Even if you’ve never worked, you can still get Medicare. Often, Social Security and Medicare eligibility will depend on your history of employment. But, if you have a disability or permanent kidney failure, you can obtain benefits even when you don’t have enough employment history.

Can You Immediately Receive Medicare with Social Security?

For those on Social Security Disability, Medicare enrollment will begin after 24 months of collecting benefits. The exception is when you have End-Stage Renal Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; those conditions allow you to qualify immediately. If you don’t collect Social Security, you’ll need to apply for Medicare yourself.

Will You Get Part A Coverage Immediately with Social Security?

Those under age 65 on disability will get benefits from Part A automatically and immediately if they have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Otherwise, those on disability will begin Part A benefits after 24 months of collecting benefits. Those turning 65 that plan to obtain Social Security at 65 can have the effective dates for both coincide.

The situation is personal to each individual. So, if you want to work after age 65, you could delay benefits depending on the size of your employer.

Will Part B Deduct from my Social Security Check?

Yes, Social Security will deduct your Part B premiums from your check. No need to worry about paying your monthly Part B premium unless you don’t collect Social Security.

The Part B premium is deducted out of your Social Security check automatically. The amount that comes out will depend on your income. The standard Part B premium amount does change annually.

How Do I Pay Part B Without Social Security?

If you don’t have Social Security, then Medicare will send you a quarterly bill. You can also contact Social Security directly to enroll in automatic monthly payments.

Will Part D Deduct from my Social Security Check?

The good news is, yes. Your Social Security benefits can deduct your Part D drug plan premiums. Depending on the effective date, you may need to make premium payments directly for a couple of months before premium withholding begins.


How much is taken out of Social Security for Medicare?
The amount taken out of Social Security for Medicare depends on your Part B costs. Those with a higher income will have an IRMAA, and more money will be taken out.
How can I update my address for Social Security and Medicare?
Have you recently moved any need to update your address? You can report address or name changes by calling the Social Security Administration. You can also go to your local Social Security office if you prefer.
How can I apply for Social Security Retirement benefits?
You can enroll in Social Security Retirement benefits in several different ways. You can apply online, at Or, if you prefer, you can join in-person at your local Social Security office. You may also call the Social Security Administration. No matter how you apply for benefits, it’s important to make a retirement plan.
Can I get Medicaid and Social Security at the same time?
You can have Medicaid and SSI in all 50 states, but in 32 states, the SSI application is also the Medicaid application.

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Did you know there is a Social Security Surplus fund that allows the government to fund the deficit while acquiring less from the public? And while Medicare isn't mandatory, you will face penalties if you don't have proper coverage.

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Lindsay Malzone

Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare industry since 2017. She is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare. You can also find her over on our Medicare Channel on YouTube as well as contributing to our Medicare Community on Facebook.

6 thoughts on “Understanding Social Security and Medicare

  1. Hello, I have enrolled in a Medicare dividend plan that pays me back my part B. When I got billed by medicare to pay the first 3 months of premiums, I sent in a check since my plan said it could take 90 days for things to finalize. My plans customer service told me to contact social security. I am not on social security yet and don’t plan on collecting for another year and 4 months. How do I get my money back for the first 3 months that I have paid for part B when I’m not on Social Security yet?

    1. Hi Sharon. You’re only eligible for a give-back plan if you’re collecting Social Security, Medicare will not reimburse the premium to you. I would recommend calling the agent that signed you up and let them know you are not collecting Social Security and if that means you’re ineligible for a give-back plan. The 3-month premium you paid to Medicare, you won’t be able to get that refunded, unfortunately. I explain this in the video that I linked in this comment.

  2. My wife is age 60 and has a terminal illness, cancer. She does not have enough work history to receive social security disability benefits. Is she eligible for Medicare?

    1. Hi Gerald. I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. The only way you can be eligible for Medicare is either by aging in at 65 or by collecting SSDI benefits for at least 24 months. I would reach out to your local SHIP department to find out what resources are available in your state for her. I hope they can help you!

  3. Hi Lindsay I want to start collecting SS monthly $’s as of my full retirement age of 66. I don’t however need Medicare part A at this time and certianly don’t want to pay for part B &D at this time. Is this possible?

    1. Hi Pete! Yes, it’s possible to not enroll, but not advised. Medicare is not mandatory. However, even if you don’t need Part A, you should enroll as long as you’re not contributing to an HSA account. It’s premium-free and will give you extra protection. If you want to delay enrolling in Part B and Part D, you will be penalized if you don’t have other creditable coverage. If your Initial Enrollment Period has passed for Part A & Part B, you’ll have to wait until the General Enrollment Period in January to enroll. Normally, you’re automatically enrolled in Part A and B when you turn 65 if you’re collecting SSI, but I’m not sure if they will still auto-enroll you if you are over 65. I would call your local Social Security office to find out. I hope this helps!


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