On Monday, we discussed how Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits usually lead to automatic Medicaid coverage. Today we discuss the other federal disability benefits program, Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits.
Unlike SSI beneficiaries, SSDI beneficiaries have a two-year waiting period before they can begin receiving health coverage. The two years is calculated from the first month for which you are paid SSDI benefits. In some cases, this may mean you have already waited long enough to get coverage. If your application process for SSDI benefits lasted a long time and you ultimately received a favorable ruling, the SSA will often provide back payments after it finds that you met its definition of “disabled” at some point in the past. The first month for which the Social Security Administration (SSA) paid you SSDI benefits is the month in which your two-year waiting period for health coverage begins. For example, those with certain kidney diseases or who are suffering from a terminal illness have shortened waiting periods.
SSDI beneficiaries can receive Medicare, not Medicaid, which is what SSI beneficiaries receive. The primary difference to keep in mind about the two is that Medicaid is the more generous program that provides healthcare for lower income Americans. Medicare is an insurance program that reduces healthcare costs. Medicare is usually reserved for Americans over the age of 65, but those with disabilities can also qualify for Medicare’s benefits. Some of the benefits include:
- Partial coverage for hospital inpatient stays, hospice and skilled nursing care
- A reduction in costs for doctor visits and outpatient care
- Partial coverage for preventive care to keep health problems from getting worse
- Discounts on prescription drugs
Have you received Medicare coverage while also receiving SSDI benefits? How much help did Medicare coverage provide?