Do I need to be getting Social Security to enroll in Medicare?

Pamela Cannaday by Pamela Cannaday | Licensed since 2011

This article was updated on: 10/06/2018

The simple answer is no, getting Social Security is not a requirement to enroll in Medicare. However, if you are receiving Social Security, you may be enrolled in Medicare automatically.

How do I get Social Security?

Social Security gives monthly payments to retirees, disabled persons, and families of retired, disabled, or deceased workers, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance. The Social Security Administration states that almost all (96%) of American workers are covered under Social Security. Your age at retirement and your lifetime earnings affect your Social Security benefit amount. Higher earnings will result in higher Social Security benefits. The earliest you can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits is age 62, but you may receive more if you wait longer to retire.

If you are younger than 62 and have a disability, you may qualify for Social Security disability or Supplement Security Income after supplying information about your medical condition and work and education history. You can find the Social Security adult disability report here. Types of disabilities that may qualify you for Social Security benefits include:

  • Musculoskeletal system disorders
  • Special senses and speech disorders
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Cardiovascular system disorders
  • Digestive system disorders
  • Genitourinary disorders
  • Hematological disorders
  • Skin disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems
  • Neurological disorders
  • Mental disorders

While families of retired and disabled workers are eligible for Social Security, families are generally not eligible for Medicare.

How do I enroll in Medicare if I am receiving Social Security?

If you are getting Social Security benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you generally do not need to enroll in Medicare. You will automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65. If your birthday is the first of the month, your Medicare benefits will start the first day of the prior month. If you decided you want Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, or Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, you must enroll separately.

If you are getting Social Security because you have a disability, you will automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B after you have been getting disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months. However, owever, Medicare treats some conditions differently from others. If you have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) you automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B the month your Social Security disability benefits begin. If you enroll in Medicare because you have ESRD (end-stage renal disease) and you’re on dialysis, Medicare coverage generally starts on the first day of the fourth month of your dialysis treatments. Like with ALS, there is no two-year waiting period to enroll in Medicare.

You also can apply for Social Security and Medicare at the same time through the Social Security Official Website.

How do I enroll in Medicare if I am not receiving Social Security?

If you are  not receiving Social Security benefits at least 4 months before you turn 65, you need to voluntarily enroll in Medicare in order to be covered. You can enroll online, in person, or over the phone.

  • To enroll in Medicare online, apply online at the Social Security website
  • To apply in person, visit your local Social Security office
  • Too apply by phone, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) 7 AM to 7 PM Monday through Friday

Do you have more questions about how to enroll in Medicare?

You can schedule a phone call with me or request an email containing personalized plan information. Want to see what types of plans are available in your area? Click the Compare Plans buttons on this page.

Pamela Cannaday |
View profile
Licensed Insurance Agent since 2011
1- 844-847-2659
TTY users 711
Mon - Fri, 8am - 8pm ET

Compare Medicare
Plans and Save

Our shoppers found an average saving of $541/year*

Compare Plans

Can’t Find the Answer You’re Looking For?

  • saying Talk to a Licensed Insurance Agent
  • 1-844-847-2659
  • TTY Users 711
  • Mon - Fri, 8am - 8pm ET

Licensed Insurance Agents

Let us help you learn more about your Medicare plan options

9.1 out of 10

8.9 out of 10

8.4 out of 10