Equitable relief allows you to request the following from the SSA (Social Security Administration).
- Immediate Medicare enrollment
- Retroactive Medicare Enrollment
- Elimination Your Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty (LEP)
To request this, you must have failed to enroll in Medicare due to the error, misrepresentation, or inaction of a federal employee, including a Social Security or 1-800-MEDICARE representative. You cannot apply and receive equitable relief if you were misinformed about your Medicare rights and options by non-federal employees.
For example, you did not enroll in Part B because a 1-800-MEDICARE representative told you that you did not need to sign up. You have grounds for equitable relief because you failed to enroll due to a federal employee‘s error.
Requesting Equitable Relief
To request equitable relief, you will need to send a letter to your local Social Security office that explains how you received misinformation that caused you to delay your Medicare enrollment. You can call 800-722-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov/locator to find your local Social Security office.
In the letter, be as specific and thorough about the situation as possible. Make sure to include the name of the representative you spoke to, the date and time of the conversation, the conversation’s outcome, and any other notes that may be relevant.
Also, indicate if you want to receive coverage from now on, retroactive coverage, and/or eliminate your Part B LEP. If you opt for retroactive coverage, you will have to pay premiums back to when your content begins.
There is no required timeframe in which Social Security must respond to equitable relief requests, nor do they have to send you a formal decision letter in response to the request.
Because of this, be sure to follow up with your local Social Security office after about a month. You may also want to contact a local legislator, like a Congress member, to ask them to follow up on the case.
Unfortunately, there is no appeal process if you are denied. However, you can submit your request with more or different information as many times as you see fit.