Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Do you get medical healthcare benefits with Social Security disability?

Social Security offers healthcare benefits through the Medicare health insurance program. Medicare is available to individuals age 65 and older, disability beneficiaries, and individuals with end state renal disease that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.

The different parts of Medicare

Medicare insurance consists of two major parts. Part A is hospital insurance and Part B is medical insurance. Medicare Part A is free to an eligible beneficiary; however Part B is paid for through monthly premium deductions or payments.

Medicare also offers two other programs used in conjunction with Part A and B. Medicare part C (also known as Medicare Advantage) plans allow an individual to choose to have all their health care services through an insurance provider. Medicare part C plans help some beneficiaries lower their medical costs and for a monthly fee they may get some additional benefits.

Lastly, Medicare offers a Part D to help with prescription drug coverage. Part D coverage is voluntary and it is paid for by monthly premiums. If an individual meets certain means testing (eligibility ) requirements, they may be eligible for a subsidy that helps offset the cost of Part D coverage. Additionally, some disability and retirement beneficiaries may be eligible for help in paying their Medicare part B premiums provided that they meet income limits.

The Medicare Waiting Period

Unfortunately, Social Security disability beneficiaries have a Medicare waiting period that in most cases must be served before they are eligible for healthcare coverage. Medicare has a twenty-four month qualifying period, or waiting period, for health coverage. The twenty-four month period begins with the first month that an individual is eligible to receive a monthly monetary disability benefit.

For example, if an individual is entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits starting in March of 2021, they will not be entitled to Medicare healthcare coverage until March 2023.

While this seems like a long time, many Social Security disability beneficiaries do not notice the wait so much, because they were approved for disability benefits at an administrative law judge disability hearing. Due to the long wait for disability hearings and the decisions following them, many have either served a good portion or even the entire Medicare qualifying period by the time that they are approved for disability benefits.

Even if an individual is approved at their initial disability claim, they may have served twelve months of their waiting period. Social Security allows a twelve month retroactive disability benefit period that begins with the date of filing. If a disability beneficiary was unable to work for seventeen months prior to filing for disability, they may be entitled to the entire twelve month period of retroactive benefits.

This means they have already served a year of the Medicare qualifying period. Still other individuals may have their Medicare qualifying period lessened if they have had other periods of disability entitlement, or, in some cases, SSI disability entitlement.

Special Rules

Special rules apply to:

1. Social Security beneficiaries who receive their Medicare benefits on the basis of end stage renal disease requiring a course of dialysis. They are entitled to Medicare insurance benefits the first day of the third month following the month they began dialysis. For example, if an individual began their dialysis on May 15, 2021 they would be entitled to Medicare benefits as of 8/01/2021.

2. Individuals who have kidney transplants are entitled to Medicare benefits the month they receive their kidney transplant.

3. Individuals who have Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic sclerosis) get their Medicare benefits the first month they are entitled to receive their disability benefits.

Still other Social Security disability beneficiaries may be eligible for healthcare benefits through the Medicaid health coverage program during their twenty four-month waiting period provided they meet the income and resource limits of the Medicaid program. This is true especially true for disability beneficiaries who are entitled to SSI disability or who are entitled to both SSI and Social Security disability.

Individual states set the rules and guidelines for their Medicaid programs, consequently coverage may differ from state to state.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
If you are applying for Social Security disability when does Medicare start?
Do I automatically receive Medicare benefits if I'm approved for disability benefits? (not SSI)
Social Security Disability Health Coverage
Do you get medical healthcare benefits with Social Security disability?
The Social Security Medicare 24 Month Waiting Period
How do you get meds in the two wait for Medicare after an Approval for Disability?
Does Social Security disability pay for medicine prescriptions?
Why doesn't Social Security Disability provide automatic medical care when SSI does?
Do you get medical health care coverage with SSI?
Can I file for SSI online?
SSI Back Pay after being Approved

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria