Medicare eligibility begins, for most, at age 65, though individuals who have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months are also eligible. There are also some other criteria that allows you to be eligible to receive Medicare benefits under the age of 65.
The Social Security office handles Medicare applications for Parts A and B. They offer several easy options so you can choose how to apply for Medicare. You have three choices for applying:
- By phone
- In person
Before you decide on how you want to apply for Medicare, start gathering documents. You will need the list of documents below no matter how you decide to apply.
Documents needed to apply for Medicare:
- Social Security card
- Birth certificate
- Proof of U.S. citizenship
- A copy of your military service papers (if you carried out military service before 1968)
- A copy of W-2 forms or self-employment tax return from the previous year
- Any marriage, divorce and death certificates
- Bank information to set up deposits
- A spouse’s Social Security number and date of birth
Enroll for Medicare Online
Social Security offers an online retirement application that can be completed in as little as 15 minute and from the comfort of your own home. Which means, you don’t need to brave the traffic and can stay in your pajamas. It’s a win win!
To do so, visit the Social Security website and follow the links on applying.
In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. Social Security will process your application and contact you by telephone or by mail if any further information is needed.
Many people opt to apply online as it is the quickest and easiest.
Enroll for Medicare phone
To apply by phone, you will need to contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and let the customer service representation know you would like to apply for Medicare. You are usually able to get through to someone pretty quickly, but if the call volume is high, they will likely schedule an appointment to call you back.
While the phone part of the process, is relatively quick, they will have to mail forms for you to fill out, and then you have to mail those forms back in, which can take a couple of weeks. Therefore, this is only a good option if you have a month of two lead time before the application is due.
Enroll for Medicare in Person
Some people just prefer to apply face to face. If that is you, simply visit your local Social Security office. Not sure where that is? Visit the website to search for the one closest to you. When you arrive, you will meet with a representative who will walk you through what is needed from you.
Learn when to enroll in Medicare.