The following Q & A was written by:
Karin Price Mueller | NJMoneyHelp.com for NJ.com
It's an excellent synopsis of what you need to know about what happens to your SSDI benefits when you reach full retirement age.
Q. I was placed on permanent SSDI due to medical concerns. I was paid retroactively to the date of my medical disability and have been collecting monthly SSDI for years. I am now 65. Do I have to sign up for Medicare or will it be adjusted to SSI at 66 years and seven months of age?
— Almost there
A. There’s plenty to know about how your benefits will change over time.
Before we start, remember that it’s always a smart choice to contact Social Security so it can advise based on your specific situation. Its number is (800) 772-1213.
Because you’re currently receiving Social Security disability benefits (SSDI), your disability benefits automatically convert to Social Security retirement benefits at your full retirement age, said Jeanne Kane, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton.
She said full retirement age (FRA) ranges between age 66 and 67, depending on your age. As you noted, yours is 66 years and seven months.
“In most cases, the benefit amount will remain the same,” she said. “You don’t need to do anything.”
You only get one benefit — Social Security retirement benefits — when you reach full retirement age, she said.
“Everyone eligible for Social Security disability insurance benefits is also eligible for Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period,” she said. “At that time, you would have been automatically enrolled in both Medicare Parts A & B at the start of your twenty-fifth month.”
At that time, you would have had the option to decline or delay Medicare Part
B, she said. Some people choose to do that if they want to remain on a spouse’s employer-based plan, she said.
“If you currently have Medicare parts A and B, you don’t need to do anything because you are already participating in Medicare,” she said. “The Medicare Part B premium is paid from your SSDI today and will be paid from your SSI when you reach full retirement age.”
If you declined Medicare Part B at the time you became Medicare-eligible through SSDI, you can continue using the company-based plan until there is a change of circumstances, such as your spouse retiring, she said.
“At change in circumstance, you have an eight-month special enrollment period to sign up for Medicare Part B,” she said. “You’ll need to call the Social Security Administration to obtain the specific forms to complete with your Part B application.”
“If you don’t, you may pay a penalty of up to 10% for each 12-month period you could have had Medicare part B but didn’t sign up,” she said.
For any specific questions, contact Ted Czabanowski for a complimentary review of your current health and long term care insurance plan(s).