Retirement Age and Medicare

In the past, Social Security benefits began at 65.  Currently, however, your full retirement age depends on the year you were born.  A question this raises for many of us is – “how will this affect my Medicare coverage?”

The changes to the age of Social Security retirement benefits took place in 2003.  Now, your retirement benefits begin at age 65 only if the date of your birth is 1937 or earlier.  If you were born after 1937, your full retirement age will vary according to the year you were born.  For instance, if you were born between 1938 and 1959, your retirement age (for full benefits) ranges from age 65 and 2 months to age 66 and ten months.  If you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67. 

Does this mean, then, that if you were born after 1937, you can’t retire at 65 with benefits?  Of course not!  But if you do retire before your full retirement age (after age 62) and begin to receive your Social Security benefits, your benefits will be reduced.

Fortunately, even with the changes to full retirement age and Social Security, the Medicare eligibility age has not changed.  If you have paid into Medicare for the required amount of time (ten years or more), you are eligible for Medicare benefits when you turn 65.  To enroll, the ideal time to contact Social Security is three months before your birthday month to three months after. The earlier you sign up, the sooner your Medicare Coverage can begin. 

To enroll in Medicare or to find out your full retirement age, contact Social Security at 1-800- 772-1213

Submit Your Comments or Questions Here