When you enroll in Medicare part B, the premiums you pay are partially dependent on your income. If your income is above a certain threshold, you’ll have to pay higher premiums. This higher premium amount is known as your income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA). However, incomes can change from year to year, so you need a way of notifying the Social Security Administration (SSA) if your income changes. The way to do this is with Social Security Form SSA-44.
A financial advisor could help you answer questions about managing your Social Security and other retirement planning concerns.
What Is Form SSA-44?
Form SSA-44 is a form provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you can use to apply for a reduction in your IRMAA. If you’ve been notified that your premiums for either Medicare Part B or prescription drug coverage include an IRMAA, then you can fill out and submit this form if you experience a life-changing event that reduces your income. Here are the life-changing events that qualify you to fill out the form for that reduction:
- Death of a spouse
- Getting married
- Divorce (or annulment)
- Reduction in work (such as going full-time to part-time)
- Complete work stoppage
- Loss or reduction in pension income
- Loss of income from property that was beyond your control (such as a natural disaster)
Who Needs to Fill Out Form SSA-44?
As mentioned above, you should fill out Form SSA-44 if you experience any life-changing event that reduces your income. If you experience more than one of the listed events in succession, don’t fill out this form. Instead, contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
You also don’t need to fill out this form if you aren’t already paying an IRMAA. This would be the case if your income is above a certain threshold. You can determine if you have to pay an IRMAA by calculating your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). Your MAGI is your adjusted gross income (line 37 on your IRS form 1040) plus your tax-exempt interest income (line 8b on your 1040).
You can use the following tables to determine if your MAGI is large enough to require an IRMAA from you. You can also see if your reduction in income would warrant a change in your IRMAA.
If you filed your taxes as single, a head of household, a qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child or married filing separately (if you lived apart from your spouse for the entire tax year), use these tables for 2023:
|MAGI – Single||MAGI – Married||Part B IRMAA||Prescription drug IRMAA|
|$97,000 – $123,000||$194,000- $246,000||$65.90||$ 12.20|
|$123,001 – $153,000||$246,001 – $306,000||$164.80||$31.50|
|$153,001 – $183,000||$306,001 – $366,000||$263.70||$50.70|
|$183,001 – $500,000||$366,001 – $750,000||$362.60||$70.00|
|More than $500,000||More than $750,000||$395.60||$76.40|
If you’re married and you filed separately and you lived with your spouse for some of the tax year, use this table for 2023:
|MAGI||Part B IRMAA||Prescription drug IRMAA|
|$97,000 – $403,000||$362.60||$70.00|
|More than $403,000||$395.60||$76.40|
How to Fill Out Form SSA-44
There are five steps to filling out Form SSA-44. The first step is indicating which life-changing event you experienced and the date that it occurred. The second step is titled Reduction in Income. You’ll need to write the tax year of your life-changing event, your adjusted gross income for that year, your tax-exempt interest income for that year, and your tax filing status. You can pull both income figures from your IRS Form 1040.
In step three, you’ll estimate the effect of your life-changing event on your MAGI for the next year. You’ll provide the next tax year, your estimated adjusted gross income, your estimated tax-exempt interest income and your expected tax filing status. If your estimated MAGI isn’t a lower amount than what you put down in step two, then skip this step.
Step four is providing documentation. You’ll need to provide evidence of both your MAGI and your life-changing event. A copy of your federal tax return will suffice as evidence of your MAGI. The proper evidence for your life-changing event will depend on your event. Visit the SSA website for more information about what can count as evidence for each event. Your documentation needs to be either original documents or certified copies.
The final step is to sign the form and provide your contact information. The SSA needs your contact information in case it needs to get in touch with you.
How to Submit Form SSA-44
To submit your completed form, you can either mail the form and your documentation to your local Social Security office or you can take it in person. The benefit of visiting an office in person is that you can show your documents to an SSA employee instead of mailing them to the office and being without them for any period of time.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to insurance premiums, you never want to be paying more than you have to. If your income shrinks due to a life-changing event, be sure your Medicare premiums shrink along with it. You can use Form SSA-44 to prevent overpaying for Medicare coverage and keep some extra money in your pocket instead.
Tips for Preparing Your Retirement
- If navigating Medicare, retirement and Social Security has you feeling overwhelmed, you could likely benefit from speaking with a financial advisor. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- It’s very common for your income to shrink when you say goodbye to working life. That’s why having a solid retirement plan in place is so important. SmartAsset’s retirement calculator can help you figure out how much you’ll need to retire comfortably.
- If you’re entering retirement and are enrolling in Medicare, odds are it’s about time to elect for Social Security benefits. But when is the right year to actually start taking benefits? SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator can help. The calculator can tell you your benefit amount depending on how old you are when you elect.
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