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How to enroll in Medicare with a blocked Social Security account

Dear Toni: I’m turning 65 in July and not receiving my Social Security check. Last week I tried to open a “My Social Security” account to enroll in Medicare online and discovered that my Social Security account is blocked.

Two years ago, someone falsely filed for a tax refund with my Social Security number. Now anything that involves me or my spouse’s Social Security number, credit report or IRS information is locked.

Can you please explain how I can enroll in Medicare when I cannot open a “My Social Security” account? — Jodie, Las Vegas

Dear Jodie: Most Americans who are turning 65 and not receiving a Social Security check should apply for Medicare by visiting ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up at least three months before turning 65 for Medicare Parts A and B to begin the first day of the month of their 65th birthday.

But a fraud situation with your Social Security number can lock you out of opening an account. The only way to enroll in this case is to visit a local Social Security office.

This office can unlock your Social Security number for you and your spouse to open an account and enroll you in Medicare online to begin the first day of the month you turn 65. Jodie, I would advise you and your spouse not to leave the Social Security office until either your “My Social Security” account has been reopened or a new account has been started and your Medicare enrollment is finalized.

Here are the different situations for applying for Medicare:

1. Turning 65 and receiving your Social Security:

■ You should receive your “Welcome to Medicare” kit by mail with your new Medicare card 90 days before you turn 65.

2. Turning 65 and not receiving your Social Security check:

■ You do not automatically receive a “Welcome to Medicare” kit with your Medicare card.

■ You must visit SSA.gov to enroll in Medicare 90 days before turning 65 for your Medicare Parts A and B to begin the first day of the month of your 65th birthday.

3. Turning 65 and still working with employer’s benefits:

■ Medicare allows you to delay your Medicare if you or your spouse are working full time with employer benefits (not retirement benefits).

Toni King is an author and columnist on Medicare and health insurance issues. If you have a Medicare question, email info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-8664.

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