Q: Ms. B of Chattanooga writes: “I was born on July 20, 1930, but my birth certificate says July 24, 1939. My mother and father who are now deceased along with the doc who delivered me. My mother told me that the doctor did not sign the birth certificate till four days later, and my mother never had the date corrected. I have always used date of birth as July 20, 1930, for 68 years on all my records, nothing was ever said regarding my date of birth until last week when I started therapy treatments after shoulder surgery and Medicare said the date of birth on July 20, 1939, was not correct. I have been drawing Social Security since age 62 and Medicare has been my primary since age 65. How do I go about correcting this?”
A: Your birth certificate is the official record of your birth and I’m reasonably sure we used it to establish your age for Social Security benefit and Medicare coverage. To avoid any problems with your Medicare, I would suggest you use the date of birth on your birth certificate.
Q: “My 20-year-old daughter has a severe congenital disability. I worry about what could happen once my wife and I have passed away. Can she get disability benefits without having ever worked?”
A: If a parent dies, gets disability benefits, or starts receiving retirement benefits, an adult child disabled before age 22 may be eligible for benefits on the parent’s account. Though we make the disability decision using the disability rules for adults, we consider this to be a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. Another safety net for this type of situation is the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program. SSI provides monthly payments to people who have little or no income and who don’t own many things, and who are blind, disabled or 65 years or older. For more information, visit our Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at (800) 772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Q: “How does Social Security decide if I am disabled?”
A: For Social Security to consider you disabled, you must be unable to do work you did before and we must decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of a disabling condition. Also, your disability must last or be expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. For more information, we recommend you read our online publication, Disability Benefits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html.
Q: “I have limited income and think I may be eligible for the extra help with prescription drug costs. I have already signed up for a prescription drug plan and my plan is billing me for a premium. What should I do?”
A: If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you are eligible for Medicare prescription drug coverage, regardless of your income, health status or current prescription expenses. Those with limited income and resources may qualify for extra help that can pay your premium. You can see if you qualify for extra help and apply at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Visit www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for more information about the Medicare prescription drug plans.
Get answers to your Social Security questions each Thursday from Social Security District Manager Eleanor Jones. Submit questions to her attention by writing to Business Editor John Vass Jr., Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.