Social Security and Medicare are two programs that have many similarities and can often get confused. Medicare was established after Social Security in 1965. It is a government operated program for seniors ages 65 and older. Medicare is a program designed to give seniors health benefits, especially to those that have worked and/or paid Medicare taxes in the last decade.

Social Security is also a government run program, and it was established in 1935. This program offers income to those that have also worked and paid social security within the last decade. These two programs often become one in many people’s minds because the Social Security Administration (SSA) does handle enrollment and other aspects of Medicare. They also determine who is eligible for the Medicare program and who will receive benefits. The Social Security Administration handles the benefits of both programs which can often lead to confusion, especially on the recipient’s level. These are two separate programs but the SSA does perform some of the administrative functions for both programs.

To participate in either of the programs you must qualify and/or be eligible. This is usually based on age, with the Social Security program having much more flexibility than the Medicare program. Participants in the Social Security program can start receiving funds as early as age 62. To receive Medicare, you have to be 65 years old, and can enroll over a seven-month period that spans your 65th birthday. These types of enrollments are due to age, but some people may receive benefits earlier than the designated ages due to disabilities.

Medicare and Social Security are two separate programs but are connected by some similarities. The SSA does handle some aspects of both including enrollment and eligibility factors. Individuals that receive Social Security before the designated age are automatically enrolled into the Medicare program once they reach their 65th birthday. These two programs go hand in hand, but only if the individuals have paid Social Security and Medicare taxes within the last ten years of employment. These programs are funded mainly by taxes from the paying individual’s payroll. The Medicare tax is lower than the Social Security tax, but they both are drawn from taxes paid over the years.

These two programs have much in common, yet they are two separate entities that have some degree of management from the SSA. Many seniors receive benefits from both of the programs. One program offers income while the other provides health insurance and benefits to Americans that are of age or that qualify due to a disability.