If you qualify for Social Security Disability income benefits due to a permanent disability, you most likely also qualify for Medicare benefits to cover your medical expenses. To qualify for Medicare Disability, most people will need to first collect Social Security Disability for two years. Medicare Disability begins when you receive your 25th payment from the Social Security Administration. However, the two-year delay does not apply to everyone.
How-to Qualify for Medicare Disability Benefits
If your doctor diagnoses you with a permanent condition that has left you disabled and unable to work for a period of twelve months or more, you have the right to apply for Social Security Disability. You apply through your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office, or on their website at www.ssa.gov. As long as you have worked at a legal job and paid Social Security taxes, you are eligible.
There are other criteria, as well. For instance, your medical condition must prevent you from doing your normal job function, or from being employed in a similar position or even new line of work due to your age, level of education, or a physical limitation. If for any reason you do not follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan, the SSA may decide to disqualify you, and you can loose your Social Security Disability benefits.
Most people must collect Social Security Disability benefits for 24 months before they can enroll to receive Medicare. However, some illnesses allow you to qualify immediately, such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. If you have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare the first month that you begin receiving Social Security Disability benefits. If you live outside of the continental USA, Hawaii or Alaska, you will receive Part A only.
If you do not qualify for Medicare Disability due to a special illness, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Disability Parts A and B on the 25th of your Social Security Disability benefits. If you live outside of the continental USA, Hawaii or Alaska, you can apply by calling or visiting your local SSA office.
If you have kidney failure (ESRD) you must enroll in all parts of Medicare Disability manually. To do so, visit your local Social Security office, log on to www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly/ or call 1-800-772-1213 . You can enroll in Medicare Parts A, B and/or D. Medicare Part C is not available to those with ESRD.
IMPORTANT: You have seven months to enroll beginning the first month that you receive Social Security Disability benefits.
If You Live Outside Of The Continental USA, Hawaii or Alaska
If you live in a U.S. territory, automatic enrollment will be limited to Medicare Part A for qualified beneficiaries. Enrollment in Medicare Parts B and D is manual via telephone or a local SSA office.