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Medicare eligibility begins at 65, even if you retire early

Inheritance can affect eligibility for Supplemental Security Income.
Oklahoman Published: March 9, 2014
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Q: I get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because I am elderly and have no income. My sister recently died and left me the money she had in a savings account. Will this extra money affect my SSI benefits? Will my SSI payments stop?

A: The money inherited from your sister is considered income for the month you receive it and could make you ineligible for that month, depending on the amount of the inheritance. If you keep the money into the next month, it then becomes a part of your resources. You cannot have more than $2,000 in resources and remain eligible for SSI benefits ($3,000 for a couple). Call us at (800) 772-1213 or TTY (800) 325-0778 to report the inheritance. A representative will tell you how your eligibility and payment amount might be affected. Learn more by visiting us online at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Early retirement

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

A: 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, online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs, or call us at (800) 772-1213 or TTY at (800) 325-0778.

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213. For more information, go online to www.socialsecurity.gov.