Waiting Period for Medicare

Jim, from Santee, California, asks “I was just approved for Social Security Disability benefits, why do I have to wait 2 years before I get Medicare? “

If you are approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits then you are also eligible for Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period.

Prior to 1972, Medicare was only available to the aged. If you did not meet the age requirement, you could not get Medicare regardless of your disability. In 1972, a law was passed that gave Medicare to anyone who qualified for Social Security Disability. Part of this law was a required 2-year waiting period. After collecting Social Security Disability benefits for 2-years, you could start getting Medicare.

The reason for the 24 month waiting period is mainly for the government to save money and to ensure that only those with a long term disability will receive Medicare.

There have been many attempts to pass new legislation that would phase out this 24 month waiting period; however, for the time being, those who receive SSDI must still wait 24 months before they can receive Medicare benefits.

There are a few exceptions to the 24 month waiting period. If you have permanent kidney failure requiring regular dialysis or a transplant or you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), you may qualify for Medicare almost immediately.

If you have been denied disability benefits, or if you are going to apply for disability benefits, talk with an experienced disability attorney. Click here for a free consultation with an experienced disability attorney in the Southern California area (San Diego, Riverside, Los Angeles, etc…).

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