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When Does Medicare Start with SSDI?

Just the Essentials...

  • Usually, Medicare starts with SSDI benefits after two years.

  • A few factors affect the waiting period before Medicare starts.

  • Certain diagnoses with serious illnesses shorten the time it takes for Medicare benefits to start.

When does Medicare start with SSDI?

While Social Security and Medicare are linked together, confusion often surrounds starting Medicare benefits.

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Income, accordingly administered under Social Security’s guidelines.

Coordinating both Medicare and Social Security Disability Income for maximum benefits can take preparation because both programs take steps to prevent fraudulent claims.

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Does everyone start Medicare at 65?

When does Medicare start with SSDI? - Medicare Enrollment Form

In the most common of cases, Medicare benefits begin at age 65. Of course, there are age exceptions for Medicare eligibility.

A person younger than age 65 can receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits because a disability prevents working at a regular job.

If a family member has a disability but is covered by the family’s private insurance, that person could receive Medicare benefits after losing eligibility for their parents’ health policy.

When does Medicare start with SSDI?

Discussing Medicare with disability benefits usually refers to people under the age of 65 who developed a disability that has a sudden impact, such as becoming paralyzed or blinded.

When anyone starts Medicare benefits, timing becomes an important factor.

Medicare starts with SSDI after two years of benefits.

A child disabled since birth can receive SSDI disability benefits based on the recent work history of a parent. The parent must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least half of the last 3 years.

Depending on conditions, Medicare benefits may begin at a very early age.

Special Circumstances

When does Medicare start with SSDI?

There are at least two cases where people can start Medicare with SSDI benefits sooner than two years, according to Medicare.gov:

  1. End-stage renal disease: If a person requires ongoing dialysis or a kidney transplant, Medicare coverage can begin the fourth full month after dialysis treatments started.
  2. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease: Individuals with this condition qualify for Medicare as soon as the first disability benefit payment.

Understanding What to Do

When it comes to drawing Medicare benefits, differing situations determine what you do to start.

If starting Medicare due to disability benefits, or due to disability status after diagnosis with ALS, both Parts A and B will begin automatically. With End-Stage Renal Disease, beneficiaries must sign up themselves.

Because Social Security manages disability benefits, they can automatically determine that a person has reached the point of Medicare eligibility.

On both sides, this reduces wasted time and effort.

When does Medicare start with SSDI?

Starting SSDI Benefits

If a person’s disability cannot immediately fit into Social Security’s listing of disabling impairments, securing benefits may take longer.

Both you and your doctors must provide documentation that helps Social Security to approve your SSDI disability benefits.

If you are just starting with disability benefits, getting prepared with the right information helps ease the approval process.

To get approved for disability benefits, you may also be required to have an examination by your doctor. If needed, the Social Security Administration can instead select a doctor for your exam.


Medicare offers benefits to the elderly, the injured and those with disabilities, regardless of age.

More severe diseases, such as ALS, start Medicare with SSDI more quickly than others. Usually, Medicare stars with SSDI after two years of benefits.

Do not assume that you will not qualify for benefits because Social Security denied someone you know. While basic rules apply, every person’s situation is unique.

The assistance is not charity. Social Security and Medicare were both originally designed to help the elderly.

Over the years, the two programs have expanded to help all ages of vulnerable people in need, both medically and financially.

The waiting period before starting Medicare health insurance prevents people who hope to transition back to the workforce from using resources meant for those who cannot return to work.

Although the application process may seem like it asks a lot, making sure those in need receive maximum benefits requires a certain amount of diligence by Social Security, your doctors, your state’s disability agency, and of course, you.

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