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Social Security Q&A Part 1

By Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Question: I have medical coverage through my employer. Do I have to take Medicare Part B?

Answer: You are not required to take Medicare Part B if you are covered by a group healthcare plan based on either your employment or the employment of a spouse. When your coverage ends, you may contact the Social Security Administration to request a special enrollment for Medicare Part B. We will need to verify your coverage through your employer in order for you to be eligible for a special enrollment. For more information, visit www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/get-parts-a-and-b/when-sign-up-parts-a-and-b/when-sign-up-parts-a-and-b.html.


Question: How do I terminate my Medicare Part B (medical insurance)?

Answer: You can voluntarily terminate your Medicare Part B (medical insurance). Because this is a serious decision that could have negative ramifications for you in the future, you’ll need to have a personal interview with a Social Security representative first. The representative will help you complete Form CMS 1763. This form isn’t available online. To schedule your interview, call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., or contact your nearest Social Security office. For more information, go to www.medicare.gov.


Question: I was incarcerated for 2 years. Before I was imprisoned, I received SSI benefits. Will my SSI payments start automatically when I am released?

Answer: No. You must contact your local Social Security office and provide them with information regarding your release dates. In some cases, it may be necessary to reapply for SSI benefits. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/reentry or contact your local Social Security office.


Question: My daughter gets SSI benefits. I just got married. Does my spouse’s income affect my daughter’s payment as a stepparent?

Answer: Yes. A stepparent’s income and resources count as long as the step parent lives in the home. Some income does not count, such as Department of Veterans Affairs’ pensions, foster care payments for an ineligible child, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Additionally, excludible resources such as a home and a single vehicle used for transportation do not count. For more information, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/spotlights/spot-deeming.htm.


Question: I was turned down for Supplemental Security Income (SSI); can I appeal the decision?

Answer: You can appeal a decision made on your SSI claim. Learn more about appealing a decision, including how to submit your appeal online, at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi/appeal.html.


Question: My grandmother receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. She may have to enter a nursing home to get the long-term care she needs. How does this affect her SSI benefits?

Answer: Moving to a nursing home could affect your grandmother’s SSI benefits, depending on the type of facility. In many cases, we have to reduce or stop SSI payments to nursing home residents, including when Medicaid covers the cost of the nursing home care. When your grandmother enters or leaves a nursing home, assisted living facility, hospital, skilled nursing facility, or any other kind of institution, you must notify Social Security right away. Learn more about SSI reporting responsibilities at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi. You can call Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to report a change.

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