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Applying for Social Security is, thankfully, not a very difficult process. In fact, all you really need to do is either submit an application online or by calling Social Security directly at (800) 772-1213.

The difficult part of Social Security is the process of qualifying for the benefits themselves.

Qualifying for Social Security benefits.

Regardless of what you may hear or even read there are actually 3 requirements that you must meet before applying for Social Security and they are:

1. You must have health insurance.

Yes, you are reading this right, you must have health coverage in order to receive Social Security and no this is not because of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

On February 12, 2012, the US Federal Court or Appeals confirmed a ruling stemming from a 2009 appeal to the Department of Health Human Services (DHHS) on receiving Social Security benefits without enrolling into Medicare.

The appeal, filed by an appellant known as J.J.K., requested that there should be no requirement of having to accept Medicare in order to receive Social Security benefits.

The policy set by DHHS is that:

“Individuals entitled to monthly Social Security benefits which confer eligibility for Medicare may not waive HI entitlement. The only way to avoid HI entitlement is through withdrawal of the monthly Social Security benefit application. Withdrawal requires repayment of all Social Security and Medicare benefit payments made”.

2. Be at least 62 years of age.

According to

“You can start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, you are entitled to full benefits when you reach your full retirement age. If you delay taking your benefits from your full retirement age up to age 70, your benefit amount will increase”.

3. File an application for benefits.

When filing an application for Social Security you can access Social Security’s website (here). Also, you can visit a local Social Security branch office (find a location here).

Within the application for benefits Social Security will notify you that upon approval if you are receiving benefits past the 3rd month of your 65th birthday enrollment into Medicare Parts A and B may be automatic.

Also, for those who are in Medicare Part B their Social Security benefit will automatically pay their monthly premium.

Your Social Security benefit will NOT be what you think it should be.

Conclusion to Applying for Social Security:

You must have health insurance to receive health benefits.

By law, if you are 65 years of age or older and you do not have health insurance through an employer or spouse’s employer you must accept Medicare.

If you don’t accept Medicare and you do not have other health coverage, you will forfeit all of your Social Security benefits.

You must be at least 62 years of age and finally, you must file an application through

To find out exactly when you should start taking Social Security please contact an IRMAA Certified Financial Professional (directory is here).