February 21, 2020
If you turned 65 in 2019 (or are going to be 65 in 2020) you are probably thinking about enrolling in Medicare (if you haven’t already). If you haven’t started Social Security yet, now’s the time to apply for Medicare. Medicare has an open enrollment period each year from January 1 to March 31. If you apply for Medicare during this time, your benefits take effect July 1.
Of the four major programs, Medicare Part B includes IRMAA surcharges. When you enroll in Medicare Part B, the premiums you pay are partially dependent on your income based on your most recent federal tax return. If your income is above a certain threshold, you’ll have to pay higher premiums; this higher premium amount is known as your income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA). However, incomes can change from year to year, so you need a way of requesting a reconsideration or appeal of IRMAA surcharges through the Social Security Administration (SSA) if your income changes due to a “life changing event.” Life changing events that qualify are marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, work stoppage, work reduction, loss of income-producing property, loss of pension income and employer settlement payment. The way to do this is with Social Security Form SSA-44.
For SSA-44 is a form provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you can use to apply for a reduction in your IRMAA. If you’ve been notified that your premiums for either Medicare Part B or prescription drug coverage include an IRMAA, then you can complete and submit this form if you experience a life-changing event that reduces your income.
You may use this form if you received a notice that your monthly Medicare Part B (medical insurance) or prescription drug coverage premiums include an income-related monthly adjustment (IRMAA) and you experienced a life-changing event that may reduce your IRMAA. Life-changing events that qualify are marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, work stoppage, work reduction, loss of income-producing property, loss of pension income and employer settlement payment.
You do not need to complete this form if you are not already paying an IRMAA.
To submit your completed Form SSA-44, you can either mail the form (and your documentation) to your local Social Security office or you can take it in person. You can make a claim at the time you experience any life-changing event that reduces your income. The benefit of visiting an office in person is that you can show your documents to an SSA employee instead of mailing them to the office and being without them for any period of time. We recommend making an appointment with the Social Security office and submit the form in person.