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Navigating Medicare While Social Security Offices are Closed

Turning 65 or retiring soon? Already have Medicare but have questions about your coverage? You may be wondering how to handle your Medicare benefits, especially at a time when your local Social Security office might be closed. Here’s a guide to navigating Medicare if the Social Security offices are closed or have limited hours.

Are Social Security Offices still closed?

The Social Security Administration has not yet announced when field offices will reopen for walk-in services. Under normal circumstances, Social Security offices are open for walk-ins on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Social Security Holiday Schedule for the Rest of 2021

Social Security offices are closed on the following holidays during the rest of 2021:

  • Labor Day: Monday, Sept. 6
  • Columbus Day: Monday, Oct. 11
  • Veterans Day: Thursday, Nov. 11
  • Thanksgiving: Thursday, Nov. 25
  • Christmas:  Friday, Dec. 24 (observed, because Christmas Day falls on a Saturday)
  • New Year’s Day 2022: Friday, Dec. 31 (observed, because Jan. 1, 2022, falls on a Saturday)

Social Security Over the Phone

You can speak to a Social Security representative by phone on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. On federal holidays, you won’t be able to speak to a live agent but you can access some services through the automated phone system. Medicare services offered through Social Security over the phone include:

  • Request a replacement Medicare Card
  • Request a form SSA-1020 to apply for help with Medicare prescription drug costs

Social Security Online Services

Once you open an account on the SSA website, you can use it for the following Medicare services:

  • Apply for Medicare benefits
  • Request a replacement Medicare card
  • Notify the SSA of a change of address or phone number

Medicare Enrollment Options for 2021

Under normal circumstances, you have the option to visit your local Social Security office to enroll in Medicare. While many offices are still closed in response to COVID-19, you can enroll in Original Medicare online or over the phone with the Social Security office. 

Enrolling in Medicare Online

An easy way to get information and updates related to COVID-19 is to visit the Social Security website. If you’re looking to enroll in Original Medicare, applying online offers several advantages—like not having to make an appointment and applying from the comfort of your home.1 You also do not have to complete the application in one sitting, allowing you to save your information and come back. 

Enrolling in Medicare Over the Phone

If you would like to apply for Medicare over the phone, you can call Social Security at its main number 1-800-772-1213 to set up an appointment. If you decide to enroll over the phone, however, you can likely expect a wait time.

Be Aware of Medicare Scams

Medicare scam callers have been acting as COVID-19 contact tracers or offering COVID-19 tests and vaccines to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for their personal information. Keep in mind that Medicare will not call you directly to offer COVID-19 related products, services or benefit reviews. 

Additionally, there have been fraudulent letters sent through the mail about the suspension of Social Security benefits due to the COVID-19 office closures, which often insists you call a number that asks for personal information or payment. The Social Security Administration will not suspend or discontinue benefits because the offices are closed. We do not recommend giving out your Medicare number, social security number or other personal information in response to unsolicited emails, letters, calls, texts or home visits.2 Make sure you are working directly with a trusted source before providing any personal information.

Other Medicare Resources during COVID-19

If you have questions about your Medicare coverage or are unsure if you have all the benefits available to you, our team of licensed insurance agents can help. Get a free quote and let our team answer your Medicare questions today. 

Additionally, the Social Security website offers answers to frequently asked Medicare questions, as well as resources to help you manage your Medicare and retirement benefits.

Confused about Medicare enrollment? SelectQuote can help.

It can be difficult to find answers to your Medicare questions, especially when the Social Security offices are closed. Our licensed insurance agents can connect you with Medicare resources, help you enroll in a Medicare plan, and ensure you’re getting the most out of your Medicare coverage.

1 https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10530.pdf
2 https://oig.hhs.gov/coronavirus/fraud-alert-covid19.asp?utm_source=web&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=covid19-fraud-alert

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