Not a check, but a direct deposit into my bank account. So the Government of the United States now classifies me as retired. As much as I am generally frustrated with our Government, the experience with the Social Security Administration (SSA) has not been what I anticipated.
The Government requires all people to sign up for Medicare within 6 months of their 65th birthday (3 months before or after). What you are signing up for is Medicare Insurance Part A. If you are not covered by a health insurance plan, you are required to sign up for Medicare Part B, which currently runs around $104 per month. If you are covered by a plan, you don’t have to enroll in part B at this time. It is important that you sign up for Medicare within this time frame, whether or not you will be enrolling in Part B right away. Late enrollment will penalize you with higher Part B premiums for the rest of your life, once you start paying for the required Part B. I was surprised that the SSA started sending me letters about the required enrollment several months before the required period with enrollment information. Good service.
Towards the end of last year I visited the SSA website to figure out what the enrollment would require. Online appointments can be made, but I was busy and still working so that wasn’t a good option. The site also said appointments weren’t required. So one day, when I had some free time, I stopped by the local office, expecting a long line and hours of waiting, so I brought a book. When I got there, parking was ample, the waiting area wasn’t crowded, and there were large monitors showing the appointments for those who had scheduled ahead of time. The security guard at the entrance directed me to a computer work station with instructions to sign in.
In less than 30 minutes I was sitting at the desk of an agent who explained the process, took my identification and enrolled me in the Medicare Program. She was extremely helpful and encouraged me to register on the SSA Website, where I could conduct further Social Security tasks online. She was extremely helpful. When I got home, I registered online.
Last month I decided to start drawing my benefits.
I logged onto the site, clicked the “Apply for Retirement” button and completed the instructions. The site calculated my monthly benefit (which matched what I had estimated), and said to check back in a week for confirmation. A week later, the site informed me my application had been processed and confirmed, and my benefits would be direct deposited each month, beginning with the first deposit scheduled for February 17th.
Of course, I was skeptical that everything would work as promised. So this morning I checked my bank account, and sure enough the deposed had posted and the amount was correct.
The Social Security Administration has exceeded my expectations. And as of today, our Government has classified me retired.