Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

New Feature in 'My Social Security' Puts You in Control

 

The future can be uncertain. However, Social Security’s new Advance Designation program can help put you in control of your benefits if a time comes when you need a representative payee to help manage your money. Advance Designation enables you to identify up to three people, in priority order, whom you would like to serve as your potential representative payee.

The following people may choose an Advance Designation:

* Adults applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.

* Adult beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a representative payee.

* Emancipated minors applying for benefits who do not have a

* Emancipated minor beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a

If you fall into one of the above categories, you may provide and update Advance Designation information when you:

* File a claim for benefits online.

* Use the application available in your

http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

Call us at 1-800-772-1213 or (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

You may also change your Advance Designation(s), including the priority order, at any time while you are still capable of making your own decisions. In the event that you can no longer make your own decisions, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing you already chose someone you trust to manage your benefits.

Applying for Medicare Online

You can apply for Medicare online even if you are not ready to start your retirement benefits. Applying online can take less than 10 minutes. There are no forms to sign, and we usually require no documentation. We’ll process your application and contact you if we need more information.

Visit http://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to apply for Medicare and find other important information. If you’re eligible for Medicare at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after that birthday.

Some Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. To qualify for Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Read http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10508.pdf for more information on Extra Help.

Medicare also offers many online services where you can find out:

* What does Medicare cover? http://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers

* Where do I find forms for filing a Medicare appeal? http://www.medicare.gov/ claims-appeals/how-do-i-file-an-appeal

* Where do I let someone speak with Medicare on my behalf? http://www.medicare.gov/claims-appeals/file-an-appeal/can-someone-file-an-appeal-for-me.

* What do Medicare health and prescription drug plans in my area cost, and what services do they offer? http://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare

* Which doctors, health care providers, and suppliers participate in Medicare? http://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-resources/find-compare-doctors-hospitals-other-providers

* Where can I find out more about a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) and enroll? http://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/how-to-get-prescription-drug-coverage

* Where can I find a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy in my area? http://www.medicare.gov/medigap-supplemental-insurance-plans

Coronavirus-Related Medicare Scam Alert

Since older Americans are particularly vulnerable to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to remind Medicare beneficiaries to be vigilant and take precautions to avoid falling victim to healthcare fraud during this pandemic. We’re warning Medicare beneficiaries that scammers may try to use this pandemic to steal their Medicare number, banking information, or other personal data.

Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of the most vulnerable people during times of uncertainty and change. You must protect yourself by making sure you only give your Medicare number to your doctor, pharmacist, hospital, health insurer, or other trusted healthcare provider.

If someone calls you on the phone, saying they’re from Medicare, and asks for your Medicare number or other personal information – just hang up. Medicare representatives will never:

* Call beneficiaries to ask for or to “verify” Medicare numbers.

* Call to sell you anything.

* Promise you things if you give them a Medicare number.

* Visit you at your home.

* Call you to enroll you in a Medicare program over the phone, unless you called us first.

Medicare cards no longer have Social Security numbers on them to reduce fraud and protect beneficiaries from identity theft. Even with this change, you should guard your Medicare card like you would a credit card. Be sure to check your Medicare claim summaries for errors and questionable bills.

If you suspect Medicare fraud, please report it by calling Medicare’s toll-free customer service center at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also visit Medicare online at http://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-resources/help-fight-medicare-fraud.

Important Update to my Social Security’s Representative Payee Portal

Millions of Americans who get monthly Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits need help managing their money and may need a representative payee. A representative payee is a person or an organization we appoint to receive the Social Security or SSI benefits for beneficiaries who can’t manage or direct the management of their benefits.

Representative payees must know the beneficiary’s needs to decide the best use of benefits for care and well-being. To help with this responsibility, representative payees can now get, save, email, and print a benefit verification letter for the person they represent using their own my Social Security account at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount. There is no need to visit or call a field office.

Many representative payees are also responsible for completing an annual form to account for the benefit payments received. To complete this process, representative payees can either fill out the form and return it to Social Security or conveniently go online at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/rep-payee.html to file the report. It is important to know that a state Protection and Advocacy agency may contact the representative payee to review the receipts and records of income and expenses.

Visit http://www.ssa.gov/payee if you have questions about Representative Payees.

 

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