When I applied for widows benefits a year ago, I was told...

Martina asked...

When I applied for widows' benefits a year ago, I was told I could get Medicare at age 64 (I'll be 64 in August). I've been paying $275.16 for COBRA, which is going to expire in October. I called the Social Security 800 number and was told I had to wait until I was 65. Who is right?

Expert Answer

I'm afraid Social Security is right -- you have to be 65 to be eligible for any of Medicare's programs (unless you are disabled and have been receiving Social Security Disability benefits for at least 24 months, in which case you'd be automatically enrolled). You should plan on considering which parts of Medicare to enroll in and begin filling out the paperwork three months before your 65th birthday.