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Medicare, Social Security, and Power of Attorney


Making Medicare or Social Security choices on behalf of someone else requires more than standard power of attorney. Below you’ll learn which forms you need, how to apply, and much more. And, we’re going to make it simple because handling someone else’s affairs can be difficult.

Keep reading to learn more about Medicare, Social Security, and Power of Attorney.

Is Having a Standard Power of Attorney Enough for Medicare?

Having a standard power of attorney isn’t enough when it comes to Medicare or Social Security. Standard power of attorney allows you to handle most of the finances; but, it doesn’t allow you to make health care choices. Yet, making healthcare decisions is necessary when if they become incapable.

You need an “advanced directive” to make medical choices. But, medical choices are different than Medicare or Social Security changes.

There are different forms for various changes or decisions you would want to make on behalf of another. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need.

How to Become the Decision-Maker for a Medicare Beneficiary

The law requires Medicare recipients to write a form permitting them to handle personal medical information. If they can’t give consent, the personal representative can fill out the Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information.

When you complete this form, you should gain access to:

  • Personal health information from healthcare providers
  • Health plans, including Medicare

Information can come from getting a paper copy, or by visiting an online portal.

Become Power of Attorney for a Medicare Beneficiary on Social Security

If you want to be the representative payee for someone on Social Security, go to the local office.

At the Social Security office, submit a letter from the recipient’s doctor that states the need for a representative payee.

Also, you’ll need to have proof of identity. Your Social Security card is necessary.

Payee applications are made in-person with Social Security. If applying on behalf of an organization, you’ll need your employee identification number.

Becoming Power of Attorney

The type of authority you need will depend on the decisions you want to make.

  • Durable Power of Attorney gives financial legal authority to an agent when the principal is either capable or incapable
  • Conventional Power of Attorney is granted to the agent when the principal is unfit.
  • Springing Power of Attorney only occurs when the document is signed, and it stays in effect throughout the principal’s life.

An attorney can notarize any documents in your state. Each state has different rules.

When you have the forms signed and prepared you need to:

  • Send copies to Medicare, the insurance company, and any healthcare facilities.
  • Keep these forms in a safe place.
  • Legally representing someone requires specific forms.

FAQs

What is a power of attorney?
A person with power of attorney has the authority to manage limited benefits. A power of attorney can’t negotiate federal payments such as Social Security checks. So, if you need to handle affairs for someone unable to manage their benefits, you’ll need to apply for Representative Payee.
Does Medicare recognize power of attorney?
Yes, Medicare recognizes power of attorney as legal authorization when someone else is acting on behalf of the beneficiary.
Does a representative payee have limits?
Unless you’re the guardian, you can’t sign a legal document for the beneficiary. A payee has no legal authority over any income other than Social Security unless the payee has power of attorney or is a legal guardian.
Is a durable power of attorney necessary for Medicare?
For legal purposes, having a durable power of attorney for the person you’re acting as a caregiver for, is beneficial. Even a spouse can’t enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan without the Durable Power of Attorney. If you wish to make healthcare decisions for another person, you’ll need to apply.
How do you get a durable power of attorney?
The person signing needs to be cognizant. It’s a good idea to have this talk while the recipient is able to express their wants.

Power of Attorney Might Not Be Enough

Depending on what you need, a durable power of attorney, or representative payee may be the solution. Pay attention to what tasks you need to handle; this will benefit you when looking for forms. You can always contact Medicare and Social Security to better identify the form you need.

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

9 thoughts on “Medicare, Social Security, and Power of Attorney

  1. I have POA for my sister who has been admitted to a nursing home , memory care unit. Medicaid tells me I need to spend down her funds below $2000 or she will be taken off Medicaid. Can I hire an attorney to help me on her behalf?

  2. My father has named me and another individual as power of attorney. I need to know what I need to do to send this document to Medicare in the event that my father is unable to act on his own behalf and I and the other power of attorney would need to handle my father’s medicare issues. Thank you.

  3. I moved from Illinois to Washington State. My wife has severe cognative abilities and is in a Care Unit. Medicare will not talk to me about medical billing issue with out a Medical Power of Attorney, which I possess. WHERE would I send a copy of her Medical POA to for Medicare??? Any help would be much appreciated.

      1. Must I also submit my Estate’s Medical Power of Attorney with CMS-10106?
        Thanks in advance.

      2. Hi Ronald! I would submit anything related to the POA to Medicare that you have for sure.

      3. I have a legal Health Care Power of Attorney for my wife. Medicare refused to discuss a medical “Payment refusal” with me. I was told they needed a Health Care Power of Attorney and I am not sure where to send the POA.

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