Information for Higher-Income Beneficiaries

If you have higher income, the law requires an adjustment to your monthly Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage premiums, and you will likely receive a letter from the Social Security Administration notifying you of such. To determine your income-related monthly adjustment amounts, Social Security uses your most recent federal tax return the IRS provides to them. As an example, for 2019, this information is usually from a tax return filed in 2018 for tax year 2017. Who is affected? If you file your taxes as “married, filing jointly” and your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is greater than $170,000, you’ll pay higher premiums for your Part B and Medicare prescription drug coverage. If you file your taxes using a different status, and your MAGI is greater than $85,000, you will also pay higher premiums. It is possible to appeal this determination, however. If your income has gone down due to any of the following situations, and the change makes a difference in the income level SSA considers, you should contact them to explain that you have new information and may need a new decision about your income-related monthly adjustment amount if:

• You married, divorced, or became widowed;

• You or your spouse stopped working or reduced your work hours;

• You or your spouse lost income-producing property because of a disaster or other event beyond your control;

• You or your spouse experienced a scheduled cessation, termination, or reorganization of an employer’s pension plan; or

• You or your spouse received a settlement from an employer or former employer because of the employer’s closure, bankruptcy, or reorganization.

If any of the above applies to you, you will need to provide the documentation verifying the event and the reduction in your income, as well as file Form SSA-44 with Social Security. Typically the most efficient way to handle this is to call Social Security (800-772-1213) to set up a face-to-face meeting at a local office. The documentation you provide should relate to the event and may include a death certificate, a letter from your employer about your retirement, or something similar. If you filed a federal income tax return for the year in question, you will also need to show them your signed copy of the return. Finally, if you end up paying the surcharge for a month or two before your appeal is approved, Social Security should reimburse you for the overpayment.

To download the Life Changing Event Form SSA-44 from the Social Security Administration, click here. To get more detailed information about the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, please visit the official SSA publication by clicking here.

* Source: Medicare Premiums: Rules For Higher-Income Beneficiaries; Social Security Administration 2017;