Medicare Coverage if You’re Disabled
You may be able to get Medicare before you are 65 if you are permanently disabled. When you’re eligible for Social Security disability benefits or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits, you may also get Medicare. Most people need to have collected Social Security disability for two years before they can enroll in Medicare.
If you have already applied for Social Security disability and you haven’t worked for 12 months or longer because of a disability, you can apply at http://www.ssa.gov You must have worked at a Social Security-qualified job and contributed to Social Security to be eligible.
How do I know if I qualify for Original Medicare under 65?
If you are under 65, you must meet one of these qualifications to get Part A and Part B:
- People with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- People with permanent kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
- People who have received Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for two consecutive years
Under 65 disability
- With ESRD, you won’t automatically be enrolled in Medicare, and you will have to use the Social Security contact information (listed below)
- With ALS, you will typically be enrolled in Medicare automatically the same month you begin to receive your disability benefits
You automatically get Part A and Part B disability after one of these:
- Disability benefits from Social Security
- Certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board – for more information, see http://www.rrb.gov
You don’t need to sign up for disability benefits for Part A and Part B. You’ll get your Medicare card in the mail three months before you reach your 25th month of disability.
How do I contact Social Security and the RRB?
- Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-80-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – all U.S. time zones
- Contact the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY: 1-312-751-4701). Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (9 a.m.– 12 noon Wednesdays) – all U.S. time zones, to speak to an RRB representative
Affordable Care Act Government Health Plans
If you qualify for Medicare, the federal government and state governments offer many choices for healthcare plans.
If you already have an existing medical condition – you cannot be denied coverage.
Even if you get a medical condition while you are covered, you still can’t be dropped from coverage