Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability Benefits

Does Social Security Disability Provide for My Healthcare?

Yes, Social Security provides for your healthcare indirectly by eventually qualifying you for Medicare or Medicaid coverage. If you are approved for SSDI, Disabled Widow’s or Widower’s Benefits, or Disabled Adult Child Benefits you will receive automatic Medicare coverage after you have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for two years. For example, if Social Security deems that your disability began in June 2004 and you filed your claim within a year of that date, you will be covered by Medicare in June 2006 regardless of when Social Security approved your claim.

If you receive SSI you will get Medicaid. It is possible to get both Medicare and Medicaid if you are on SSI and receive another type of disability benefit form Social Security. To find out more, contact your local Medicaid agency.

The chief difference between Medicare and Medicaid is that Medicaid is designed at aid those living in poverty, and Medicare does not take into account your wealth or poverty. Since Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is also a program designed to aid persons who are living in poverty, persons collecting SSI are automatically eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid pays doctors and health providers are very low rates, but pays it does pay for prescriptions.

Medicare does not consider your wealth or poverty, but it does have a variety of other qualifications for eligibility. One way a person can be eligible for Medicare is by receiving Social Security Disability for a certain length of time. Persons receiving Social Security disability benefits for 24 months are automatically eligible for Medicare. Medicare pays doctors at higher rates than Medicaid, which allows enrolled persons to more easily find a good doctor. Medicare, however, does not pay for many prescriptions. The two year wait is designed to coincide with employer health plans and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA allows you to stay on your past employer’s coverage after leaving the job for up to 18 months. If you are disabled, you should file immediately in order to avoid large gaps in health care coverage.

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