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Social Security Q&A Part 8

By Vonda Vantil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Question: How can I become a representative payee?

Answer: If you know someone who receives Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and who needs assistance managing their payments, contact your local Social Security office about becoming their representative payee. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/payee for more information.

Question: If I retire at age 62, will I be eligible for Medicare?

Answer: No. Medicare starts when you reach 65. If you retire at 62, you may be able to continue medical insurance coverage through your employer or purchase it from a private insurance company until you become eligible for Medicare. For more information see our publication, Medicare, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs, or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: How do I change my citizenship status on Social Security’s records?

Answer: To change your citizenship status shown in Social Security records:

  • Complete an application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5), which you can find online at socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.html; and
  • Provide documents proving your:
    • New or revised citizenship status (We can only accept certain documents as proof of citizenship. These include your U.S. passport, a Certificate of Naturalization, or a Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents);
    • Age; and
    • Identity.
  • Next, take (or mail) your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Question: I plan to retire in spring. How soon can I file for my Social Security benefits?

Answer: You can file four months before you plan to receive benefits. Go ahead and apply now if you plan to retire when winter’s frost finally lets up. To apply, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applytoretire. Applying online has never been easier—you can do it from the comfort of your home. All you need is 15 minutes and Internet access.

Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov 

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