If you suffer from a disabling medical condition that prevents you from working, you might be eligible to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a benefit program that pays you a monthly income. The SSA bases the amount you receive on your previous work history and income. But if you are approved for SSDI, will you also get Medicare? In many cases, you will automatically qualify for Medicare. The only catch is that your Medicare benefits do not kick in until two years after the date you became eligible for SSDI.
The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, focus on disability law. If you have questions about how to apply for disability or the specific benefits you might qualify for, one of our team members can guide you through the process. We want to help ensure you receive everything you are eligible for in the shortest possible time frame. Call 865-566-0800 today for a free consultation and case review.
How Does Medicare Work With SSDI?
Following a two-year waiting period, SSDI recipients automatically qualify for Medicare, the government’s safety-net health insurance program for low-income individuals and families. Chances are, you do not have to wait two full years from the day you start receiving SSDI to begin collecting your Medicare benefits. That is because you become eligible for Medicare two years from the day you qualified for SSDI, not the day you started receiving it. The day you qualified for SSDI is the day you became disabled.
For example, imagine you suffered a back injury in November 2015 that left you incapable of working. After attempting several treatment options, in March 2016 you decided to apply for disability. Applicants typically wait three to five months to hear if they qualify for benefits. If you received your approval letter in August 2016, you would receive your first SSDI benefit check in September 2016.
Remember, though, your disability occurred in November 2015, effectively starting the clock on your two-year waiting period. That means, starting November 2017, you should begin collecting Medicare along with SSDI.
How Do I Apply for Medicare?
One advantage of the SSA running the Medicare program is that the process is automatic. Once your two-year waiting period ends, you should begin receiving Medicare without having to apply or take any action.
Hitches in the process are rare, but if you believe your waiting period is over and you should be receiving Medicare but are not, we can intervene and appeal to the SSA on your behalf.
It is best to be diligent and make sure you have documentation of your date of disability, and the SSA has this information as well. Once you receive a diagnosis of a disabling medical condition, you should keep this paperwork as proof of when your disability occurred.
How Do I Receive Health Benefits During My Two-Year Waiting Period?
The two-year waiting period often presents a challenge for newly disabled individuals. Since they can no longer work, that means they typically lose the health benefits they were receiving at their job. And anyone who has shopped for insurance on the private market knows the premiums can be prohibitively expensive, particularly for a disabled person out of work.
To stay covered while you wait for Medicare, you have two basic options: purchase a plan on the private market or the Affordable Care Act exchange, or attempt to qualify for Medicaid. If you qualify for Medicaid, there are no premiums, while a private or exchange plan will have a monthly cost.
A qualified insurance agent can help you shop for private plans, while we can review your situation and determine if Medicare might be an option.
What If I Qualify for Another SSA Benefit Program?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another disability program from the SSA. It offers similar benefits to SSDI, but only awards payments to those with low incomes and few assets.
In many states, SSI approval comes with automatic eligibility for Medicaid. In a few states, though, the SSI and Medicaid approval requirements are different, which excludes a small percentage of recipients from qualifying.
One of our disability attorneys can help you navigate such situations, making sure you receive every government benefit for which you qualify.
How Can I Get in Touch With a Disability Lawyer to Help With My Benefits?
At the Disability Advantage Group, our attorneys focus on disability law and can help you make the most of your benefits. If you are having trouble securing the Medicare or Medicaid coverage you need to care for health, we can help. We will examine your case and determine what is holding up the process.
We offer free consultations to our new clients. You can set yours up today by calling 865-566-0800.