As you approach retirement age, you may have questions about Medicare eligibility. One of the requirements for Medicare is having a certain number of work credits. In this blog, we will explore the Medicare rule on 40 work credits and what it means for your healthcare coverage.
What are work credits?
Work credits are a way of measuring your work history over your lifetime. You can earn up to four work credits per year based on your income and Social Security taxes paid. The amount needed to earn one work credit can change each year, but for 2024, you must earn $1,730 to receive one work credit. You can earn a maximum of four work credits per year.
What is the Medicare rule on 40 work credits?
To be eligible for Medicare, you must have 40 work credits. This means you need to have worked and earned enough money to earn 40 work credits over your lifetime. For most people, this means working and paying into Social Security for at least ten years.
What if I don’t have 40 work credits?
If you don’t have 40 work credits, you may not be eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A, which covers hospitalization. However, you may still be eligible for Medicare by paying a monthly premium for Part A. If you don’t qualify for premium free Part A, you’ll pay either $278 or $505 each month for Part A, depending on how long you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes.
How can I check my work credits?
You can check your work credits by creating a mySocial Security account on the Social Security Administration’s website. Once you have an account, you can view your work credits and other important Social Security information. See instructions on how to set up a social security account on our blog How to Create a My Social Security Account
Can I qualify for Medicare if my Spouse has enough work credits?
If you do not have the required 40 work credits, you may still be able to qualify for premium free Medicare Part A based on your spouse’s work history if they have 40 credits. This is known as “spousal benefits” or “spousal coverage.”
You will qualify for premium free Part A under your spouse’s work history if they are 62, have 40 work credits, and either of the following:
- You are currently married and your spouse is eligible for Social Security benefits (either retirement or disability). You must have been married for at least one year before applying.
- You are divorced and your former spouse is eligible for Social Security benefits (either retirement or disability). You must have been married for at least 10 years, and you must now be single.
- You are widowed and married for at least nine months before your spouse died. You must be single.
To confirm your eligibility for premium-free Part A, call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.
If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A based on your spouse’s work credits. You will still need to pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits and other outpatient services.
It’s important to note that spousal benefits do not affect your spouse’s Social Security or Medicare eligibility or benefits in any way.
How to apply for Medicare on spouses work record?
You can apply through social security either in person, over the phone, or online through your “My Social Security” account mentioned above. It is important to start this process early as it can take longer when applying for spouse benefits. You do not want to have a gap in coverage or end up with Medicare penalties for enrolling too late!
In conclusion, if you do not have the required 40 work credits for Medicare, you may still be eligible for spousal benefits based on your spouse’s work history. It’s important to understand the eligibility requirements and apply for benefits as soon as you are eligible to ensure you have the healthcare coverage you need in retirement.
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