Helping an honorably discharged veteran navigate Medicare

Dear John: I love your column and the manner in which you try to help people. Perhaps you can help me as well. 

I’m on Social Security Disability for Stage D emphysema and received $1,076 a month up until December 2018. 

Then the Social Security Administration informed me that it would begin deducting $134 a month for Medicare Part B. 

I appealed immediately because I’m an honorably discharged veteran and, as such, received all my medical checkups, procedures, operations and prescriptions free from the Albany Veterans Administration Hospital. 

I don’t need Medicare at all, and don’t understand why I’m being forced to pay for something I never need. 

I’ve inquired to Social Security, but have received no answer for six months. Can you possibly help? S.M. 

Dear S.M.: I called my contact at Social Security and within a few hours he got back to you with good news — you don’t have to pay for Medicare.

But you’ll have to visit your local Social Security office.

I don’t think anyone knows why you were signed up for Medicare, but we know what you have to do to get off.

“Disability beneficiaries get two enrollment periods for Supplementary Medical Insurance (Part B),” the source at Social Security told you. The first is effective the 25th month of entitlement to disability, and the second is at age 65.

“The beneficiary has the option on both occasions of refusing Part B coverage by checking the box and signing the back of the card” that he attached to me.

“If a beneficiary wishes to terminate his Part B coverage, he will have to go to his local office and request it,” says my source.

Coverage will end the month following the month the beneficiary submits his request.

It sounds like your problem is solved.

Dear John: I was referred to you for assistance regarding Mr. Cooper mortgage company in Dallas, Texas. 

I sold my home over six weeks ago, and [the company] still has not returned my escrow balance. I have called it over 20 times and spoken to 14 different employees, who assure me they have sent out the payment. 

I still do not have it. Mr. Cooper gives me a UPS tracking number, and UPS says it has not been told to pick up the item from Mr. Cooper. J.M. 

Dear J.M.: I contacted Mr. Cooper once on your behalf, and you now have your money.

Another satisfied customer of mine. Another dissatisfied one for Mr. Cooper.

Dear Readers: Here’s an update. A couple of weeks ago I reported on a guy with the initials R.F. who said that a truck delivering from Home Depot had damaged a granite wall at a building he owns.

There was no way of proving his story, since he said the truck’s tires knocked the wall down. The truck driver said differently.

Home Depot refused the claim. But I negotiated some more on R.F.’s behalf, and Home Depot relented, even though the company really didn’t have to.

I believed R.F., and I persuaded Home Depot to believe him also.

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