Does Social Security Disability Come With Medicaid Benefits?

Social Security Disability is usually associated with Medicare benefits rather than Medicaid benefits. However, SSA (the Social Security Administration) also administers a need based disability program--Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI)--that does offer an automatic approval for Medicaid benefits as long as the beneficiary meets the income and resource limits for the SSI disability program.

When an applicant files for Social Security Disability, they are also evaluated for SSI benefits eligibility. This is done for several reasons. There are many instances in which individuals are insured to receive SSD benefits but, based on their earnings records, would only receive a fairly small monthly check. For these individuals, it may be possible to receive both SSD and SSI concurrently. This is done to ensure that the individual will receive at least a certain minimum amount each month.

However, to receive SSI, a person must be under the income and asset limitations for the SSI program. Well, it stands to reason that many individuals are disabled have exhausted their resources (assets) and most likely have no income by the time they file for disability. This makes a concurrent claim possible.

Note: Many individuals will also receive SSI benefits for a time because of a five month waiting period for benefits that applies only to SSD benefits. Social Security Disability beneficiaries face this five-month waiting period that begins with the date they stopped working and which ends with the month they are entitled to receive disability benefits (the sixth month).

While many of these individuals will lose their SSI entitlement when they become eligible for Social Security Disability benefits (after the expiration of the waiting period), there are still others who remain dually entitled to both SSI and Social Security Disability. If they are entitled to even one dollar of SSI disability benefits they are eligible for Medicaid benefits.

Additionally, local Social Services agencies are often able to continue Medicaid benefits to Social Security Disability beneficiaries after they lose their SSI eligibility, provided that their total income and resources are low enough to meet the medicaid guidelines for disability.

While Social Security Disability does not come with Medicaid, there are still many Social Security Disability beneficiaries who still become eligible for Medicaid benefits. Of course, Medicaid coverage may only last a short time for some beneficiaries, but even in that short time it can help pay medical expenses or catch up some old medical bills.

Note: The eligibility requirements for payment of past and present medical expenses through Medicaid can vary from state to state.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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