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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen July 14, 2022

Adults older than 51 won’t get free money to help stave off inflation

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  • Medicare Advantage is a health plan for Medicare-eligible adults that’s provided through private insurance, not the federal government. 
  • Certain plans can include a prepaid debit card to use for certain medical expenses or a grocery stipend to purchase healthy foods. 
  • Only adults 65 and older and people with certain disabilities are eligible for Medicare.

With inflation driving up everyday costs from groceries to gasoline, one Facebook post is making the misleading claim that adults older than 51 are eligible for a free spending card to defray expenses.

"Inflation is creeping up on everyone," the July 7 post says. "Last night I was watching the news. I learned that adults over 51 can receive $$$ in additional spending for groceries and expenses."

The Facebook post features a quick video showing a building for the Social Security Administration and an animation of a spinning "food card."

A link with the post redirects users to a website that says, "Time Sensitive: Claim Your FREE 2022 Medicare $$$ Spending Card For Free Groceries."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The post’s promise of a free spending card is similar to a claim PolitiFact previously ruled  Mostly False. However, that claim was targeting adults 65 and older with the promise of a Medicare flex card.

Flex cards exist but aren’t issued by Medicare, the federally-run insurance program for older adults and people with certain disabilities. The flex cards also have limitations.

The prepaid debit cards are offered to eligible customers who purchase Medicare Advantage, a Medicare-approved plan through a private insurance company.

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Flex Cards are not available in every state, and not all private insurance companies offer them to customers.

The cards can be used only to cover certain qualifying medical expenses, such as medications, copays and medical equipment.

Some insurance companies do provide a grocery stipend for Medicare Advantage customers, but it's typically restricted to "healthy foods" such as fresh fruits, vegetables and salad kits.

These plans are available only to people who qualify for Medicare — which would disqualify anyone 51 to 64 years old and contradict the Facebook post.

A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency administering Medicare, previously told PolitiFact that claims such as those made in the Facebook post are typically scams trying to steal Medicare recipients' information to make fraudulent charges in their names. 

Our ruling

A Facebook post claims adults 51 and older are eligible for a Medicare spending card to help pay for rising expenses because of inflation.

The cards are provided only through private insurance companies, not Medicare, and only to people 65 and older. Spending cards are available only from certain private insurance companies and can be used only to help pay for valid medical expenses, not for groceries, as the post implies.

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, July 2, 2022

Archive of website, accessed July 13, 2022

PolitiFact, "Medicare ‘flex cards’ are not as advertised," Jan. 12, 2022

Medicare, What's Medicare, accessed July 13, 2022

Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, accessed July 13, 2022

MedicareFAQ, "Does Medicare Have a Flex Card for Seniors," April 27, 2022

Clover Health, "Medicare Advantage Plans and the Grocery Plus Benefit," accessed July 13, 2022

Email with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokesperson, Feb. 22, 2022

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Adults older than 51 won’t get free money to help stave off inflation

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