Recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are eligible to receive Medicare coverage. Coverage is immediate for people already on Medicare who become disabled. Coverage is also immediate for recipients who have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Otherwise, if you are approved for SSDI but are not already on Medicare you will have to wait 24 months before you begin receiving Medicare coverage.
The 24-month waiting period actually begins when SSDI payments begin, which is 5 months after the onset of the disability occurred. So for most SSDI recipients, Medicare coverage will begin 24-months after becoming eligible, but with the 5-month waiting period for eligibility, Medicare coverage will actually begin 29 months after the onset of the disability.
For SSDI recipients who are low income, Medicaid may be an available option. The average monthly SSDI payment won't conflict with the income limitations for Medicaid but you would still have to have meet the income and asset restrictions necessary for Medicaid.
If you do not qualify for Medicaid there is the opportunity to buy health insurance through the Marketplace. The normal open enrollment period generally goes from November 1 through January 31 of the following year. Depending on your circumstances you may qualify for a special enrollment period in which you can enroll. If you lose your job due to your disability.
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