Can I enroll in Medicare if I’m on disability?

Medicare Disability

If you have Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) or End-Stage Renal Disease, you can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. For other qualifying disabilities, you must have been receiving benefits from Social Security for 24 months.

After receiving disability benefits from Social Security, you automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B. Look for your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail three months before your 25th month of disability. Your Initial Enrollment Period lasts for seven months, stretching three months before and three months after your 25th month of receiving disability benefits.

You do not need to be 65 to qualify for Medicare if you are on disability. If you have a disability and return to work, you can keep your Medicare coverage. For the first 8½  years, you don’t have to pay a Part A premium. After that amount of time, the Part A premium applies.

Delaying Enrollment

You can choose to delay Part B enrollment if you have creditable coverage from an employer, which you will have to notify Medicare of. This will qualify you for a special enrollment period so you can avoid a late enrollment penalty when you eventually enroll.

If you get Social Security Disability Income, include this when reporting your income to Medicare. For help paying your Medicare costs, see if you qualify for a Medicare Savings Program. 

QDWI Program

The Qualified Disabled and Working Individual (QDWI) program is for individuals with a monthly income of less than $4,338 and less than $4,000 in resources. For couples with a monthly income of less than $5,832 and less than $6,000 in resources. The plan covers the Medicare Part A premiums for disabled individuals younger than 65 who lost their premium-free Part A because they returned to work. 

With SSDI and Medicare, you cannot enroll in a marketplace plan instead of Medicare or as a supplement. If you already had a marketplace plan before you enrolled in Medicare, you can keep it as a supplement.

If you are in the 24-month waiting period, consider applying for Medicaid coverage. You may have dual-eligibility with Medicare. You can apply through your state Medicaid agency. If you do not get accepted, you can enroll in marketplace coverage. 

For all of your Medicare questions, go to Medicare on Video.

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