How Does Medicare Work with Disability Benefits?

People applying for disability benefits are frequently confused by the part of disability eligibility that provides health insurance. Medicare is in the news a lot these days. There is a lot of political controversy around these popular and essential programs.

There are two ways you will become eligible for health coverage after you have been found disabled by Social Security, either by a Judge or by administrative decision. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) you will be eligible for first day of the 25th month after your onset date as established by Social Security. If you receive SSI, you get immediate entitlement to Medicaid in your state. (This is called Medi-Cal in California.)

Sometimes people receive a combination of the two benefit programs. In that case somebody receiving SSDI might get Medicaid that’s attached to the lower income part of their benefits, if they have assets below the limits. Additionally, people with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and also people with end stage renal disease will get immediate Medicare. This is because those diseases have strong lobbying and were able to get exceptions through Congress.