Medicare and Social Security Disability

An important benefit of receiving Social Security Disability benefits is Medicare. Medicare provides a variety of medical benefits to Americans age 65 and older. But, in the case of SSD beneficiaries, the benefit becomes available 24 months after you are eligible to receive SSD benefits, even if you are younger than age 65.

Medicare is made up of four parts, identified as Parts A through D. Part A covers hospital inpatient care and some follow-up care. Part B is medical insurance, which helps to pay your doctors' bills and other outpatient care. These two parts can be very important for you if you have a severe disease or medical condition that has made it impossible for you to remain working.

The medical coverage provided by Medicare can be very helpful when combined with your SSD benefit. Most SSD benefit payments are relatively modest, with the average in 2016 being $1,166 per month. If you suffer from a medical condition that requires regular visits to the doctor, you know that you could easily spend almost that much on your medical expenses, leaving you with little to live on.

You will need to plan for dealing with the 24-month waiting period. The coverage for Medicare is not the same as your eligibility for SSD benefits. There are currently backlogs in the SSD application and appeal process, and many disabled workers have to wait a year or two before they obtain approval for their disability claims. 

However, the SSD benefits will have a retroactive effect to when your disability began. SSA will only enroll you in Medicare 24 months after the start of your disability payments, so you should not receive "retroactive" Medicare benefits coverage for that same period.

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