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Medicare & Disability

Medicare isn’t just for people age 65 and older. Millions of American’s qualify for Medicare based on disability status.

Common Questions for those getting Medicare “early” due to Social Security Disability (SSDI)

 

“I just got approved for SSDI, when will my Medicare begin?”

For most people it will start in the 25th month after your SSDI payment begins. The two year wait seems cruel, but that was a compromise Congress made to get a benefit approved for those under age 65.

“Will Medicare Part B be free since I’m disabled?”

No. Your Medicare Part B premium is based on your income. You may qualify for Medicaid and get assistance paying for Medicare Part B, or you may have to pay more for Part B than the average American. Part B is based on your income from 2 years prior and will count your joint income if you are married.

“My friend’s Medicare started immediately, why do I have to wait 2 years for Medicare to start?

It is true that those with some severe disabilities are able to get Medicare immediately, but most people have to wait 2 years. If your friend has ALS or End Stage Renal Disease and is on dialysis, the rules are more lenient.

“I’ve been disabled for years and never knew I was able to sign up for Medicare. I though I had to wait till age 65. Can I sign up now?”

Yes and no. If you’ve been on SSDI for 2 years and didn’t sign up for Medicare within 7 months of becoming eligible, you are now “late.” You can only sign up during the General Election Period and you will pay a late penalty for every year that you were late (10% per year). The good news, is that when you do turn 65 any penalties you have will go away! Call us at 800-970-1964 and we can help you get into Medicare at the next available opportunity.

“I called to enroll into a Medicare Supplement Plan when I got approved for Medicare Part B and the insurance company said I’m not eligible since I’m under age 65? Is this true?”

That is true in most, but not all states. Medicare insurance rules vary by state and can vary widely! For example, if you are in Indiana, you are not able to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan until you turn 65; but in Florida, you can purchase any plan while on SSDI. Most states only have Medicare Advantage plans available for those under age 65 on Medicare due to disability. MAPD is a great option but once you turn 65, you have other options too. At age 65 you are able to get a Medicare Supplement Plan just like everyone else that is entering Medicare for the first time. You won’t be charged more due to your disability and every company has to accept you that sells plans in your state. Please plan to call us 3 months before you turn age 65 and we will research your option and help you make this important transition.

“I got SSDI at age 60, what happens when I turn age 65?”

You’ll be eligible to enroll in Medicare “again” as described above. What won’t happen (and what most people are hoping will happen) is an increase in your monthly Social Security payments. Age 65 is not the magic age for Social Security. Your Full Retirement Age is between age 66 – 67, and is no longer age 65. At your FRA you will automatically transition from SSDI to SS Retirement. It happens behind the scenes, you don’t need to do anything and sadly, you won’t be getting a monthly increase. The monthly SSDI payment you receive will continue for the rest of your life, with only a small cost of living increase each January. At your FRA, you can start working and earn as much money as you want without your Social Security being reduced! You also will no longer have a medical review of your disability.

“It I take the Ticket To Work Program, how long until my Medicare coverage ends?”

Great news! You can keep Medicare for 93 months as long as your disabling condition continues. This is a generous way SSDI encourages people to go back to work, and keep their health care benefits.

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This Medicare stuff can be confusing, huh? We made a video that goes through Medicare step-by-step. This is the easiest way to learn. Check it out!