A lot of people confuse Social Security with Medicare, but they are completely different programs.

To start, here is what they have in common:

  • Individually funded by payroll taxes
  • Provide benefits to people who are eligible
  • Help people with certain disabilities

But more importantly, here is how they differ.

Social Security

  • A federal program that provides benefits for retirees who have worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least ten years. Social Security also provides benefits to individuals with a disability, and survivor benefits to wage earners and their spouses, former spouses, widows, widowers and children.
  • Eligibility for Social Security benefits are based up on the wage earner’s work history.
  • The monthly amount of Social Security benefit is based on a few factors. Examples include the number of years worked and the amount of earnings during those years.
  • Social Security is run by the Social Security Administration
  • To be eligible for Social Security, workers must earn enough credits while they are employed. The minimum number of credits for most workers is 40 credits.
  • The youngest age you can apply is 61 years and nine months old. You’d then receive your first SS check four months later—the month after your 62nd birthday.


  • A federal health insurance program that provides health care benefits to individuals ages 65 and older; individuals with certain disabilities that are under the age of 65 years; disabled children of certain low-income wage earners; individuals with permanent kidney failure.
  • Medicare is run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Designed to provide health insurance coverage for anyone 65 or older who has worked – and paid Medicare taxes – for at least ten years.
  • The Medicare program consists of different parts
    • Part A for stays in a hospital or nursing home and some home health care
    • Part B for doctor services, outpatient care and medical supplies
    • Part D for prescription drugs.
  • Medicare does not provide coverage for certain health expenses, including long-term care, dental visits, eye exams and hearing aids. However, these can be found in certain Medicare Part C plans through private-insurance companies for an additional cost.

If you have any questions, give us a call.