Insurance

Medicare and Proof of Citizenship or Nationality

In order to start receiving Medicare you must present proof of both your citizenship and your identity. There are several types of documents you can use to do this. Some documents prove both citizenship and identity while others provide either proof of citizenship or proof of identity If you are already receiving Social Security benefits there is a possibility that you will not have to further prove your identity to receive Medicare.

Documents Proving Both Citizenship and Identity

Some documents may be used to prove both citizenship and identity such that you only have to show that document to start receiving your Medicare benefits. These documents include:

  • U.S. Passport
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship

Documents Proving Citizenship

If you do not have one of the above forms of identification you will have to prove your identity and citizenship using two different documents. To prove citizenship acceptable forms of documentation are:

  • U.S. birth certificate
  • A Certification of birth issued by the Department of State
  • A Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen
  • A Certification of Birth Abroad
  • A U.S. Citizen I.D. card
  • An American Indian Card issued by the Department of Homeland Security with the classification code - KIC
  • Final adoption decree showing the child's name and U.S. birthplace
  • Evidence of civil service employment by the U.S. government before June 1976
  • An official military record of service showing a U.S. place of birth
  • A Northern Mariana Identification Card

If you do not have one of these forms of documentation proving citizenship there are a few other things which you can use, including:

  • Extract of U.S. hospital birth record established at time of birth and created more than five years before Medicare application date
  • Life or health insurance listing a U.S. place of birth and created more than five years before Medicare application date
  • Census records showing a U.S. place of birth or citizenship
  • Admission papers from an institution such as a nursing home which show a U.S. place of birth
  • Medical record created more than five years before application showing a U.S. place of birth
  • Written affidavit

Documents Proving Identity

In order to receive Medicare benefits you must not only establish citizenship but also your identity. Acceptable documentation of identity includes:

  • Driver's license or state identity card
  • Certificate of Indian Blood, or other U.S. American Indian/Alaska Native tribal document
  • School identification card with a photograph of the individual
  • U.S. military card or draft record
  • Identification card issued by the federal, state, or local government with the same information included on driver's licenses
  • Military dependent's identification card
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card
  • For children under 16, an affidavit signed by a parent or guardian

Additionally, it is possible that data matches with other government agencies may be used to establish identity.

Proof of identity and citizenship must be shown to receive Medicare benefits. If you are unable to do so because of some mental or physical impairment, the government is required to help you locate such proof. Once these have been documented you should normally not need to produce the documents again when renewing.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Ask how to prove citizenship and identity if you must use an affidavit or other non-traditional method.
  • Ask your attorney how to handle missing, destroyed, or inaccurate records relating to your birth.
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