Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row Rotating Header Image

No Application Required

no application required to do somersaultsGenerally, in order to begin receiving Social Security benefits, you must submit an application to the Social Security Administration. Similarly, an application is required (in general) in order to receive Medicare benefits. But there are some circumstances where you can begin receiving Social Security benefits or Medicare without the need for an application.

In general, these cases are situations where you’re already receiving Social Security benefits on another program, such as Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), and you’ve reached Full Retirement Age (FRA).

When a Medicare application is not required

  • If you’re already receiving Social Security retirement benefits or SSDI and you reach age 65, you do not need to submit an application to enroll for Medicare. You are automatically enrolled for Medicare in these instances.
  • Additionally, if you’re receiving Disability Benefits (SSDI) and are under age 65, once you’ve been receiving SSDI for 24 months, you are automatically enrolled for Medicare benefits.
  • Also, if you’re signing up for Social Security retirement benefits and you’re over age 65, you are automatically enrolled for Medicare, no application required.

When an application for Social Security benefits is not required

  • If you are receiving SSDI benefits and reach your Full Retirement Age (FRA), you do not need to submit an application to continue your Social Security benefits as retirement benefits. This conversion is automatic.
  • Likewise, if a child is receiving benefits and reaches age 18, an application is not needed if the child will continue receiving benefits after his or her 18th birthday due to disability or contiuation of school attendance. The extension is automatic.
  • If you’re receiving SSDI and become ineligible for the benefits due to earnings above the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit, and then later your earnings fall below the threshold, a new application is not required. This is applicable during the extended period of eligibility after a trial work period.
  • If a child is receiving an auxiliary (dependent) benefit based on the record of a living parent’s record and the parent dies, the conversion from dependent’s benefits to surviving dependent’s benefits is automatic as long as the child is otherwise eligible for the surviving dependent’s benefit.
  • The same goes for a conversion from a spousal benefit to survivor benefits when the spouse or ex-spouse dies – your benefit will convert to the surviving spouse’s benefit with no application needed. It’s important to note that this conversion can be avoided since deemed filing does not apply to survivor’s benefits; you can revert to your own retirement benefit alone (just remove the spousal excess benefit) and dely receipt of the survivor benefit to a later date if that would be advantageous to you.

This is not an exhaustive list of all situations where an application is not needed, so be sure to check with Social Security to see if an application is required for your specific circumstances.


  1. Susan says:

    Hello Jim,
    I read & studied this for some time before I requested File & Suspend in early 2016, so I thought I knew what I was doing. Now I’m just a little paranoid. Having had time to do some figuring & chatting with the CPA who does my taxes, it’s pretty obvious my lump sum would not be large enough to generate the income needed to make up for lower benefits “forever” if I took a lump. As I understood it then (& I hope I didn’t screw myself), if I decided that there was no advantage in (or need for) taking a lump sum prior to turning 70, and therefore did nothing, my benefits would simply start up when I turned 70 as if I had never filed & suspended.

    I’m turning 70 next February (not the 1st). I’m hoping the rule change had no effect on this for me. Please tell me my benefits will kick in automatically at the 70-years-of-age (maximum) start level. Btw, I’m single so this affects no one else but me.

    Should I “re-apply” shortly before turning 70 (like in your answer to Sampaine) and how much in advance should I do that?

    1. jblankenship says:

      You should be in good shape, Susan. I’d recommend “re-applying” 2-3 months before you reach age 70. Make it clear that you want benefits to start when you reach age 70.

      1. Susan says:

        Thank you. Now I can breathe a little easier.

      2. Susan Davis says:

        Hi, it’s me again,

        What exactly do I do to “re-apply”? Do I just go on line & apply as though I had not already done so? I did my “original” file & suspend at the local office when I enrolled in Medicare shortly after I turned 65.

        1. jblankenship says:

          You should be able to go online, or call, or visit a local office. You’ll just apply as if you had not applied, and your “suspend” will be removed.

          1. Susan Davis says:

            So with a late February birthday, will just after Thanksgiving be too early to do that? Or should I wait until near Christmas? Sorry to be so insecure about this; I just don’t want to screw it up.


          2. jblankenship says:

            They probably won’t accept or process an application that is more than 3 months before your intended start date. With a February birthday, sometime in November (or just after Thanksgiving) should be fine.

  2. Sampaine says:

    I did file and suspend back when you could do it to let spouse file for spousal. When I reach 70, do I have to apply for my suspended benefit or will it start automatically?

    1. jblankenship says:

      If I was in your shoes, I would submit the application just to make sure SSA is on board with your resumption of benefits.

Get involved!

Discover more from Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading