Medicare’s Role for People Under Age 65 with Disabilities

Aug 12, 2016 | Juliette Cubanski, Tricia Neuman , and medicareAnthony Damico

How do people under age 65 with disabilities qualify for Medicare?

People under age 65 become eligible for Medicare if they have received SSDI payments for 24 months. Because people are required to wait five months before receiving disability benefits, SSDI recipients must wait a total of 29 months before their Medicare coverage begins. People under age 65 who are diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) automatically qualify for Medicare upon diagnosis without a waiting period. Of those who were receiving SSDI in 2014, 34% qualified due to mental disorders, 28% due to diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, 4% due to injuries, 3% due to cancer, and 30% due to other diseases and conditions.

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