Medicare and divorce benefits may surprise you; the details are particular, so pay close attention.
A former marriage may qualify you for Medicare benefits. Many seniors are eligible for Part A through a former spouse.
Depending on the situation, you may qualify for coverage through an ex. Here’s what you should know.
Medicare Divorced Spouse Eligibility Requirements
The Social Security Administration requires you to meet specific criteria to qualify for Medicare benefits from a divorce. Qualifying for Medicare is different than Social Security benefits.
You can qualify for your spouse/ex-spouse Social Security benefits at age 62, and you won’t be eligible for Medicare until age 65. Of course, you may qualify for Medicare sooner if you have End-Stage Renal Disease or disability for at least two years.
If you’re 62 and your spouse/ ex-spouse is 65, you CANNOT use their Medicare benefits for eligibility. You must wait until the age of 65 to qualify unless you’re eligible through disability.
If the following situations apply, you may qualify for Medicare after divorce:
- Your ex-spouse is at least 62 years old and eligible for Social Security
- You must be currently unmarried
- You’re at least 65 years old
- You were married for 10+ years
Part A benefits are free when you, a current or former spouse, have at least 40 calendar quarters of work or ten years of work history paying into Social Security.
Medicare Part A Spouse Eligibility
There’s no family plan for Medicare; plans are individual. Meaning, your spouse’s eligibility may not match yours.
For those currently married: If your spouse meets the 40 credit hours and is at least 62, eligible for Social Security, you may qualify for premium-free Part A at 65. However, you need to be married at least a year.
Those currently divorced: As long as you’re single after being married for at least ten years to a spouse eligible for Social Security benefits, you’ll qualify.
If you’re widowed: If after at least nine months of marriage, your eligible spouse dies and you’re single, you may qualify for premium-free Part A benefits.
There are always exceptions to eligibility; if you’re unsure about your premium-free Part A benefits, call the Social Security office.
The Medicare-eligible spouse can’t be under 62; if this occurs and you don’t qualify on your own accord, you must pay Part A premiums until your spouse is 62.
Medicare After Death of a Spouse
The death of a spouse can change many aspects of your life, including health policies. If you get benefits under your spouse’s retirement plan – coverage may change after they pass away.
Of course, this is a difficult time, but it’s essential to consider you’re own health. Finding a policy that meets your health and financial needs is vital. If you lose coverage, you become eligible for a Special Election Period; however, that period doesn’t last forever.
It’s your responsibility to enroll in a new policy as soon as possible to ensure eligibility. If you recently lost a spouse and your Medicare policy, please call an agent at the number above to start discussing your options.
For those with Medigap or Medicare Advantage, your policy won’t change. Those are individual plans, so you’re coverage will remain the same.
As mentioned above, if you were married to a spouse eligible for Social Security that passes away, you can get premium-free Part A benefits if you remain single.
If you remarry after age 60 and your former spouse isn’t alive, you could still qualify for premium-free Part A on your ex’s record.
Medicare Eligibility When You Divorce a Disabled Spouse
The SSDI administers disability benefits and assistance. However, state laws may vary when dividing property following a divorce.
Individual states divide property in half, and others use “equitable division” through the court system. Alimony calculations don’t typically include SSDI benefits.
You can qualify for Medicare coverage under a spouse’s record if you meet the conditions Social Security sets forth.
Ex-Spouse Social Security
You could have an increase in Social Security benefits if you’re ex-spouse benefits are higher than the benefits you get on your own accord. Meeting the Social Security divorce guidelines is a requirement.
You must be single, at least 62 yrs old, and the ex must qualify for benefits. For those that get higher earnings than the ex, nothing changes, and your income remains the same.
Work history determines Social Security benefits; if your income is less than your ex’s, you may get a higher benefit amount. Remarrying will change your eligibility.
When a Spouse doesn’t apply for benefits but is eligible, you can get those benefits if the divorce lasts for two consecutive years.
Medicare and Marriage
Any senior is eligible when turning 65 after working for about ten years and paying into the program. However, some people only qualify through a spouse.
When you marry someone eligible for Part A and remain in that marriage a year, you can start getting premium-free Part A as long as you’re 65 or older.
To remain Medicare eligible, you must stay in the marriage for ten years before you can divorce and keep your coverage.
There are benefits to both; however, we strongly recommend Medigap.
How much Social Security does an ex-spouse get?
The amount of Social Security covers for an ex-spouse depends on several factors. If your ex-spouse is still working while collecting SSI, earning limitations apply equally to you and them.
If your former spouse is eligible for retirement perks on their own, Social Security pays that amount first. However, Social Security doesn’t cover all pensions based on work history.
For example, your ex-spouse’s SS benefit on your record may change if they worked for the government.
What happens if there are multiple marriages and divorces?
You may only collect from one ex. Eligibility depends on the length of marriages and other factors.
Your marriage status and if your former spouse is alive can affect eligibility. When you’re unsure, call the Social Security Administration.
What happens when there’s another spouse in the picture, and they apply before me?
It doesn’t matter which marriage came first with Social Security. There are multiple benefits available. You’ll get benefits regardless of others if you meet the criteria.
Contact Social Security online or by phone to collect on a spouse’s benefit. You must have proper documentation that establishes your right to benefits.
Have your marriage license, divorce decree, and birth certificate ready before contacting Social Security about benefits. You should be able to answer a series of questions about your ex-spouse.
You may want to know their social security number, place and date of birth, and his or her parent’s names. Social Security needs this information to verify your identity before looking up the number.
Can You Get Medicare if You Never Worked
Eligibility for Medicare isn’t entirely about employment history. You can still qualify even if you’ve never worked under specific circumstances.
Disabling health conditions may restrict your ability to continue working. Medicare is not just for those 65 and older; people with disabilities may also qualify.
The Social Security disability program decides if you qualify for Part A. Health conditions such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and ESRD can be eligible for Part A immediately.
Getting Help with Your Medicare Coverage After Divorce
In some cases, free Part A isn’t an option. Not to worry, you may still pay into Part A after turning 65 years old. Although a monthly premium is likely for coverage to start.
States often offer low-income programs to help those who can’t afford Part A or Part B premiums and other out-of-pocket costs. Programs vary among states, contact your local office for details.
Things can get messy after a divorce, and you may not know what your options are for Medicare. Give us a call at the number above for more information on help with costs.
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