Medicare for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries
If you are eligible for Social Security Disability, you are entitled to Medicare after you have received twenty-four months of disability benefits, including any back-pay months. Because benefits begin after five full months of disability, Medicare starts in the thirtieth calendar month of your disability. The waiting period will be waived if you have permanent kidney failure requiring regular dialysis or a transplant or if you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The Three Parts of Medicare
Medicare consists of three kinds of coverages. Medicare Part A does not require a premium. You paid for Part A when you paid Medicare payroll or self-employment taxes while you were working. Part A Medicare covers hospitals, hospice, and other benefits. Both Medicare Part B, which is for doctors and most outpatient services, and Medicare Part D, which is for prescription medication, require payment of a monthly premium.
Medicaid for Supplemental Security Income—SSI—Recipients
Medicaid is a separate medical insurance program. There are many ways to qualify for Medicaid, but eligibility for Social Security Disability is not one of them. In general, Medicaid provides health insurance coverage for people who have limited income and assets and meet other requirements. For example, people who are eligible for SSI receive Medicaid at no cost. You may also qualify for Medicaid coverage with programs available through your state or county human services department.
For information about continuation of Medicare after Social Security benefits have ended due to work, see our article “Can I Keep Getting Benefits When I Am Working on Social Security Disability?”