Medicare IRMAA refunds

Congress has decided that higher-earning seniors should shoulder more of their Medicare costs and imposed surcharges for Parts B and D based on income. These surcharges are known as IRMAA, for Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts. For many taxpayers, they are calculated by the Social Security Administration based on income-tax records and deducted from Social Security payments.

If you’ve had a life-changing event that reduced your household income, you can ask to lower the additional amount you’ll pay for Medicare Part B and Part D. Life-changing events include marriage, divorce, the death of a spouse, loss of income, and an employer settlement payment.

Paying Extra for Medicare? See If You’re Due a Refund

The Medicare surcharge known as Irmaa can be a tough pill to swallow. But here’s a little-known workaround: Older Americans who have been hit by the added cost have a chance to appeal.

By Laura Saunders, The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 25, 2023

Technically, a refund request for one of the seven permitted reasons is known as a “new initial determination.” Submit form SSA-44 soon after getting the letter, says Casey Schwarz, an attorney with the Medicare Rights Center.

By contrast, a “reconsideration” is for adjustments that don’t fit into one of the seven categories, says Schreiber. She advises asking a Social Security staffer how to make such a request, and do it soon…

Remember that if both spouses are covered by Medicare, then each typically has to file for new determinations or appeals—even if they file a joint tax return.

Be organized and tenacious

Keep good records, including date, name of contact, case reference and issues discussed. If an action is promised by a specified date and doesn’t happen, follow up. [end quote]

To see what you are actually paying go to your MySocialSecurity account.



Just a quick point of clarification for readers (as this sentence initially confused me as well), Congress decided in 2003 to create IRMAA. When I first read the above sentence, I incorrectly inferred that you were suggesting that there was a recent change - and it got me worried. :slight_smile:

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Note that a big capital gain on the sale of a home, or a windfall from a cash tender offer on a big block of stock in your portfolio, isn’t the kind of “life changing event” the IRS is referring to.


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It would not matter what the IRS thinks, as they are not involved. The Social Security Administration processes the IRMAA exception forms.