Health insurance is especially important for anyone suffering from a permanent or disabling injury. This remains a common concern among people who receive Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.
However, anyone who receives SSD benefits automatically qualifies for Medicare. Many people are unaware that Medicare — the federal government-sponsored health insurance for people aged 65 and older – also is accessible for younger disabled adults.
A waiting period exists
But for SSD recipients, there is a waiting period to obtain Medicare. It is true that the majority of SSD recipients qualify for Medicare, but only two years after deemed eligible for disability benefits. (That two-year waiting period gets waived for people suffering from end-stage renal or kidney disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).)
That waiting period was economically necessary. When Congress expanded Medicare 50 years ago in order to include covering people with disabilities, its members decided that a two-year wait would help alleviate the cost of adding this group to its rolls.
That two-year wait also is misleading and usually is a little longer for SSD recipients seeking Medicare. Why? Since SSD recipients must wait five months for their payments to begin, the Social Security Administration (SSA) adds that time to the two-year wait for Medicare, thus stretching that time to 29 months.
As long as you receive SSD benefits, you will continue to receive Medicare. However, if your SSD benefits stop because your medical condition has improved, then Medicare coverage also will cease.
Helping you in difficult times
If you are eligible, take advantage of these benefits. They may help you overcome certain financial difficulties.