Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How long after you are approved for social security disability do you have to sign up for medicare?

Here's a question from a forum. "How long after you go on Social Security Disability do you have to sign up for medicare?"

Answer: you don't have to sign up at all. For individuals who are approved to receive SSDI (social security disability insurance) benefits, medicare will automatically start at the end of what is known as the "two year waiting period".

Do you have to wait until you've been receiving social security disability for two years before medicare actually kicks in?

Here's the best way to answer the question. Medicare coverage starts two years after something called your date of entitlement.

Here's how it works, as shown by this example.

A) A claimant gets approved for disability.

B) The claimant, based on the medical records, is given something known as an EOD, or established onset date. This is when the claimant's disability is considered to have begun.

C) The claimant will be eligible to receive disability benefits five months after this onset date. This five month timeframe is another type of waiting period, called the five month waiting period. Why does this five month waiting period exist? It simply boils down to a means by which claimants can be robbed of their first five months of disability benefits. However, the rationale (allegedly) is that, because social security disability is a type of social insurance program, there should be an elimination, or waiting, period, just as you would see in a private insurance policy.

D) The day after the end of this five month waiting period is what is known as the claimant's date of entitlement.

E) Two years from this date of entitlement is when the claimant is actually eligible to receive medicare. Basically, then, a claimant is eligible to receive medicare 27 months after the date that their disability is thought to have begun (the EOD, or established onset of disability).

Now, the next question, after this lengthy explanation is this: Do I really have to wait two years after I've gotten my approval letter for medicare?

And the answer is, usually, no. Why? Because in many or most cases, a person who has been awarded disability benefits will be given an established onset date that is far back enough so that, by the time they receive their award letter, the 27 time frame will either A) have been served entirely or B) largely served.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog


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