A few weeks ago, you wrote about the increase in Medicare’s Medicare Part B and D premiums, but you did not explain how to lower your Medicare premiums if one’s retirement income has lowered.

Our joint income in 2015 and 16 was approximately $250,000 each year. Once I explained to the local SS office that I was no longer earning the $250K because I had retired, they suggested that we file a Social Security “Life Changing Event” form.

Wham!! Our income level was significantly lowered since I retired.  My wife and I should refile this form yearly to keep our IRMAA at the lower rate since our income now is $75K. 

Many of your weekly readers have income exceeding the income threshold long after enrolling in Medicare and then their yearly income amount lowers. It would be unfortunate if your readers had no idea that they could pay a lesser IRMAA amount by simply filing a form at their local Social Security office.

Your column has helped me understand my Medicare options and I would like to bring help to those that need it. Please explain Social Security’s “Life Changing Event”


 Another Steve without an IRMAA problem.


Thank you, Steve:

You are so right, you can file form SSA-44 titled “Medicare Part B Income-Related Premium – Life-Changing Event” to appeal your Part B and D premium increase if you think your income is lower or not correct. Social Security uses your tax information from two (2) years prior (2015) to establish your 2017 Part B and D IRMAA premiums.

If your income was more than $85,000 for an individual or $170,000 for a couple, then your Part B and D premiums will be higher than $134 for 2017.

Once Social Security is satisfied with the evidence, it will update its records and correct Part B and D premiums to what your current income is. Keep filing the Life-Changing Event form yearly until your income lowers to the basic amount.

Don’t forget increases in your income such as property that is sold, cashing in your IRA, or even winning the lottery can change your monthly adjusted gross income (MAGI) that may cause you to pay a higher Part B or Part D premiums.


A life changing event that can change your income can be:

  • you have gotten married or divorced, or your spouse has died;
  • you or your spouse have stopped working or have reduced your hours;
  • you have lost property that you were making money from due to a disaster or other event beyond your control; or
  • you or your spouse’s benefits from an insured pension plan stopped or went down


Life Changing Event documents to show why your income changed are listed below:

You must give the original or a certified copy document with form SSA-44.

  • If you filed a tax return for the year in which the income-changing event took place, provide a signed copy of your tax return. If you have not yet filed a tax return, you can submit an estimate of the change in your income.
  • If your marital status has changed, provide a marriage or death certificate.
  • If your employment status has changed, provide a letter from your employer about your retirement.
  • If you have lost income from a property, provide an insurance claim for property damage.



Still Confused Or Have Questions?

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Medicare Survival Guide BundleRegular Price $29.95 – Special $24.95



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