Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog


Your Power of Attorney Is Not Enough for Medicare, Social Security

February 28, 2021
power of attorney

You may be surprised to learn that Medicare and Social Security will not automatically honor your Durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Surrogate. These are powerful legal documents that everyone should have in their planning toolkit, but when it comes to authorizing someone to deal with Medicare and Social Security on your behalf, additional steps must be taken.

Medicare

If you are a Medicare recipient and have a specific individual(s) you wish to access your personal information and to handle your affairs with Medicare, you must complete Medicare Form 0938-0930, Medicare Authorization To Disclose Personal Health Information. You can access the form here.   You may  specify the type of information you want the individual to receive.  You may also specify a date that you wish the authorization to terminate.

If you want to assist a loved one or friend who is not competent and receives Medicare benefits, and who did not name a representative in advance, you may complete the form on his/her behalf. You will have to provide a durable power of attorney or other authorization to document your authority to do this. Contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE for more guidance on how to proceed.

Social Security

As with Medicare, the Social Security Administration does not permit someone to handle your affairs, even if he/she is your agent under your Durable Power of Attorney.

If at any point you become unable to manage your benefits, the Social Security Administration will appoint a Representative Payee for you. The Representative Payee is responsible for managing your benefits and tracking how funds are used. With some exceptions, Representative Payees are required to provide Social Security with an annual accounting.

Effective April 6, 2020, Social Security permitted competent beneficiaries to advance designate Representative Payees. You may submit the names of up to three individuals who you want to serve, should the need arise in the future. You can indicate the order of preference. Should you be unable to manage your affairs, Social Security will contact your proposed payee(s), vet them, and assign one to the job. You can make the advance designations by logging onto your my social security account.  Form SSA-4547 is the form you need to submit. Call Social Security at 800-772-1213 for the latest information.

If you have a family member or friend who you currently believe cannot manage his/her benefits, call the Social Security Administration. Tell them your concerns and if you wish to be considered for the job of Representative Payee, request that Form SSA-11 be sent to you. Prior to coronavirus, the application had to be completed in person; call Social Security to find out how this is being handled right now.

Check For The Most Up-To-Date Information

Social Security field offices are closed to walk-in traffic as a result of the pandemic. Social Security and Medicare procedures have changed and may have changed again since this post was written. Check out these websites or call for the most up-to-date information:

Medicare: 

Medicare.gov

1-800-MEDICARE

Social Security:

www.ssa.gov

1-800-772-1213