Federal Employees News Digest

Federal Benefits Q&A

Question: I retired under CSRS in 2009 at age 55. I currently receive social security benefit of $120/month. I plan on signing up for Medicare A&B in 2019. My income is such that I would qualify for the lowest Part B premium. Will it be possible to have my Medicare premium withheld from my Social Security benefit? And if so, will the SS benefit be adequate to pay for Medicare in perpetuity?

Answer: You apparently started to receive your Social Security retirement benefit at age 62 and as a result, were subject to a 25 percent permanent reduction in your benefit because you started receiving it before your full retirement age of 66. In addition, your benefit is subject to a reduction because of the WEP and you are receiving during 2017 a net monthly benefit of $120. The lowest Medicare Part B monthly premium in 2017 for first time Medicare Part B enrollees is $134. That being said, if you were eligible to enroll in Medicare Part B in 2017 (which you are not), then you could not have the Part B premium deducted from your Social Security check because your monthly benefit check is insufficient. That will probably be true in 2019 when you first enroll in Medicare Part B. You will then have to arrange to have your Part B monthly premium deducted from a checking account through a Medicare program called "Easy Pay".

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Contributors

Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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