How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Social Security Disability in California & the two year waiting period for Medicare Benefits

A great many claimants in California go without proper access to medical care at the very time:

1. their condition has become disabling


2. they are trying to document their condition for the social security administration (difficult to do if you can't get seen by a doctor and get medical records generated).

Here's a quote from emphysema.net:

"Before they can get Medicare coverage, people with disabilities must first receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for 24 months. But SSDI generally does not begin until five months after an individual’s disability has been certified. As a result, people with disabilities face three consecutive waiting periods prior to getting health coverage: (1) a determination of SSDI approval from the Social Security Administration; (2) a five-month waiting period to receive SSDI; and, (3) another 24-month waiting period to get Medicare coverage"

The quoted information is essentially accurate, but it's still potentially misleading to say that you actually wait 5 months for benefits and it's misleading also to refer to the medicare situation as a "two year wait" because in some cases by the time a person has been approved for disability benefits, the two year requirement for medicare will already have been served.

How is this? Well, here's how it works: when you file for disability, you allege an onset date for your disability. That is, you state when you think you became disabled. This is called AOD, or alleged onset date. If you get approved for disability, you're given an EOD, or established onset date. This is the date on which it is determined that your disability actually began (according to the medical records).


1. Social Security Disability Medicare Health Coverage
2. Do I automatically get Medicare if I'm approved for disability?
3. If you are applying for Social Security Disability when does Medicare start?
4. Disability and Medicare- how does it work?

Do you get disability benefits starting with your EOD? If your disability claim was for SSI, yes. If your disability claim was for SSDI (Social Security Disability insurance), the answer is no. Social Security Disability claims are subject to a five month waiting period. That does not mean that you "wait" five months for benefits. It simply means that the social security administration confiscates (what else would you call it) five months of your benefits.

So, Social Security Disability benefits (remember, we're talking about SSDI, not SSI) begin five months after your established onset date, or EOD. This is called your date of eligibility. But you don't actually do any waiting. They simply rob you of five months of your benefits. When does medicare start for a Social Security Disability recipient? Medicare starts two years after the date of eligibility, which is your date of entitlement.

Now to address an issue that can be confusing, if things aren't already. In some cases, depending on the claimant's established onset date, they will have to wait 2 years before receiving medicare. But...in other cases, if the onset date is pushed back, or established, far enough back, the two year period will already have been served by the time a Social Security Disability claimant's case has been approved.

This is one reason why it can be important to have representation at a disability hearing----to get the most favorable onset date possible. Now (another potentially confusing wrinkle), how far back the onset can be established will depend on when a Social Security Disability claimant filed an application. This is a limiting factor; however, SSDI benefits can be paid 12 months retroactive to the date of an SSDI application.

Also, if the medical evidence warrants, earlier applications for SSDI benefits that were filed by a claimant can be "reopened".

Aain, another reason to consider representation at the hearing level, since a competent and qualified claimant's representative (attorney or non attorney) will get for their client the best outcome possible---in other words a disability rep who's worth anything will work (via argument and obtaining the records) to not only win a claimant's case, but also establish the earliest possible onset date. Because "onset" doesn't affect just the size of the backpayment, it can affect medical coverage.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Filing for disability in California

How do I Apply for Disability Benefits in California

How long should you wait before you apply for disability?

SSD and SSI applications in California

What do you do if your California disability claim is denied?

Do you file for your children when you apply for disability in California?

Should you apply for disability in California after a denial?

How long does a disability case take in California

After you file for disability in California

Filing for disability in California and your condition

Filing a disability claim in California, long filing process

The California disability process

Do I need to be disabled a year in California to get disability?

The Social Security Disability process in California

California Disability determination process

Disability approval criteria in California

California Social Security Disability decisions

Steps to Win Social Security Disability benefits in California

Questions about disability in California

How much can you make in California and still apply for disability?

California Social Security Back Pay

Can Disability benefits be garnished in California?

Disability two year medicare waiting period in California

California review of Social Security Disability claim

California Social Security Disability status

VA disability and California Social Security Disability

Can a Congressman in California help on a disability case

How do examiners make disability decisions in California?

Applying for disability benefits in California

How long does disability take in California?

How long does it take to get a decision on a disability case in California?

Why do disability claims take so long in California?

How Long Will It Take To Get My Disability Decision If I Appeal in California?

Disability claims in California with certain conditions

Applying For Disability On the Basis of Back Pain in California

Filing for Disability with Fibromyalgia in California

Social Security Disability For Mental Illness in California

Winning California disability

Will a lawyer improve the chance to win disability in California?

Getting approved for disability in California

Winning disability in California

California Disability Lawyers and Representation

Getting a disability attorney in California

Finding a new disability attorney in California

Applying for SSI in California

Filing for SSI disability in California

SSI disability denied in California

Are SSI claims in California denied more than SSDI claims?

How to apply for SSI Disability in California

Doctors, medical records, and medical exams

Doctors and applying for disability in California

Can you be turned down for disability in California if your doctor says you are disabled?

Disability hearings in California

Disability Hearings in California

California quick disability hearing

How do I win my Social Security Disability Hearing in California?

How long does it take to get a disability hearing in California?

Disability denials in California

Disability Denied in California

If a disability claim is denied in California

Appealing a Social Security Disability denial in California

If you get denied Social Security Disability in California

Why are Most Disability Cases Denied in California?

Getting approved or denied for disability in California

Disability appeals in California

How do you file a disability appeal in California?

How many disability appeals do you get in California?

If your California disability appeal is denied, can you get another appeal?

If your disability reconsideration is denied in California

Filing a reconsideration appeal in California

Why was I denied disability in California?

Qualifying for disability in California

Qualifying for disability in California

Qualify for SSD in California

Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in California?

Disability lawyers in California

Using a Social Security Disability Attorney in California

Cost of a California disability attorney

Why do disability lawyers in California sometimes not take cases?

Hiring a Disability Lawyer in California

Social Security Disability Attorney Fees In California

How do Disability Lawyers in California get paid their fees?

Should you get a disability lawyer before you get denied in California?

Lawyer for a disability hearing in California

Why was I denied disability in California?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.