Social Security Q&A

Q: I get Supplemental Security Income and I'm supposed to report any changes in resources. Can you remind me what you mean by resources?

A: Resources are the things you own such as cash, real estate, personal belongings, bank accounts, stocks and bonds that you can use for your support. To be eligible for SSI you must have no more than $2,000 in countable resources. (The limit is $3,000 for a married couple.) We don't count everything, such as the home you live in, your car, personal effects and funds set aside for your burial. To learn more about SSI, including what resources count and don't count, refer to our publication, What You Need To Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You can get a copy online at You also may call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to ask for a free copy to be mailed to you.

Q: I'm about to turn 65 and don't plan to apply for retirement yet. But I do want Medicare. When should I apply?

A: Generally, we advise people to apply for Medicare benefits three months before reaching age 65. If you want your Medicare to begin the month you reach age 65, you have to apply at least a month before. Remember that Medicare benefits can begin no earlier than the beginning of the month in which you reach age 65. For people already receiving Social Security when you reach age 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B without an additional application. However, because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you have the option of turning it down. To learn more, read our online publication, Medicare, at or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to ask for a copy to be mailed to you