Many people who are approved to receive Social Security disability benefits want to know whether or not they will also receive health insurance. This is often a very important concern for disability recipients since many people receiving disability benefits have lost their health insurance by the time they are approved for disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
This tends to be a concern because often people who are receiving Social Security Disability benefits have pre-existing conditions. These conditions can prevent them from being able to obtain private health insurance or can make the private health insurance available to them extremely expensive.
The waiting period
The SSA understands that its disability recipients have a need for health insurance. However, the SSA does not make Medicare coverage immediately available to its disability recipients. Instead the SSA requires a two-year waiting period for its disability recipients to begin receiving Medicare. This time frame is calculated as twenty-four months from the month you were first eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits, and not the date that you became disabled.
Thus, it is important that disability recipients who are able to continue their current health insurance, not drop their coverage at the time they begin receiving Social Security disability payments. If it is possible for you to continue to keep your health insurance coverage during this two-year waiting period , you should try to do so to ensure that you maintain your health benefits. The alternative, if you do not keep your current coverage, is that you may be without health insurance for up to two years.
You may have already completed the waiting period
There is one important thing to note about the start date for the two-year waiting period. As we explained above, the date of this period begins when you were first eligible to receive your monthly disability benefit. However, this does not mean that every person who is approved for Social Security disability benefits will have to wait two years to receive Medicare coverage.
This is because the day you first become eligible to receive disability benefits may have been far enough in the past that you have already completed much or all of the two-year waiting period by the time you receive an award of benefits from the SSA. For example, it can take one to two years to get a disability decision when going through the appeals process.
There are also a couple of important exceptions to the two-year waiting period for Medicare benefits. If you suffer from one of these conditions you are able to receive expedited Medicare coverage:
End stage renal disease with kidney failure
If you suffer from end stage renal disease with kidney failure and require ongoing dialysis or need a kidney transplant, you can receive Medicare coverage starting the third month after your dialysis began.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
If you suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits as soon as you are eligible to receive disability benefits.
If you are applying for SSD benefits or have been denied benefits consider the Law office of Neil H. Good for your representation. Contact our office toll-free or complete this form online for a free evaluation.