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When to Sign up For Medicare and Social Security

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    There are a few things you should know when you are approaching the age of being eligible for Medicare and Social Security and signing up at the "right" time may wind up saving you some money down the road.

    If you are nearing 65 (or already 65), have paid your taxes, and are an American citizen then you are eligible for Medicare. Those who are disabled or have ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) are also eligible for Medicare regardless of age. Most people choose to start receiving their benefits when they turn 65, but you do not have to. However, you will have to pay the higher premium for twice the number of years you could have had Medicare Part A, but didn't sign up.

    Signing up for your Social Security benefits is a little different. You can begin collecting your benefits at the age of 62, but please be aware that there is a penalty for beginning your benefits so early. If you start drawing your benefits at 62 then your benefits will be reduced, but if you wait until the full retirement age of between 66 and 67 (depending on the year you were born) then you will receive one hundred percent of your benefits.

    I'm interested to see if anyone has held off on signing up for their Medicare benefits. Did you wait because your work benefits were better or was there another reason you waited?

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    So is it that you get a certain allotment of social security money after you retire, and the monthly payments are just higher the longer you wait? Or does it work another way?