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Lawmakers looking to reduce risk of identity theft for Social Security recipients

Lawmakers are currently considering whether to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. The objective of the bill is to decrease identity theft for Social Security recipients, including those who receive Social Security Disability benefits.

Those living in New Jersey and elsewhere that have collected disability benefits for two years are eligible for Medicare. However, they may be vulnerable to identity theft. If an individual's Medicare card is stolen or lost, crucial identifying information is easily available.

Medicare recipients typically carry their cards with them so that the cards are easily accessible in a medical emergency. But removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is no easy matter because the Social Security number is also the Medicare ID number. Through the Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act, lawmakers are hoping to come up with a cost-effective way to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.

Recently, the federal government began removing Social Security numbers from Medicare reimbursement checks. However, there are no plans at this time to permanently remove them from Medicare cards.

One man decided to take matters into his own hands. He blacked out his Social Security number from his Medicare card and simply tells his doctor's office his Social Security number in person.

When someone has suffered an injury or illness that has prevented them from working, they may be able to collect Social Security Disability benefits. Despite the potential issues with Medicare cards, SSDI provides people with the financial assistance they need to live a normal life. Anyone who is thinking about applying for disability benefits may find it best to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide an individual through the application process.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Bill would take Social Security number from Medicare card," Donna Gehrke-White and Diane Lade, Mar. 7, 2012

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