If you receive SSD Benefits, can you also receive Medicare/Medicaid?

When you have a disabling medical condition and few resources available to you, what began as a difficult situation can become overwhelming. Fortunately, Medicare and Medicaid are government-administered programs that can cover many medical expenses for those who are retired, unable to pay for separate health coverage or permanently disabled.

While Medicare is a single program run by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), each state has its own rules regarding Medicaid. If you receive SSD benefits, you may be eligible for Medicare. Depending on your level of income and other available assets, you may also qualify for Medicaid in South Carolina. Which program is the right choice for you will depend on factors that include your disability and your family size.

This is why it is best to discuss this issue with an experienced Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer serving Spartanburg, Greenville and surrounding areas in Upstate South Carolina to determine if Medicare and Medicaid coverage are right for you. To learn more, feel free to contact Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., by phone or online.

How Does the SSA Decide Whether You Are Eligible for Medicare?

If you need Medicare coverage due to a permanent disability, the first step is to apply for Social Security Disability coverage. Your attorney can answer questions about the application process and handle any appeals you may need.

When the SSA determines that you are disabled and qualify for SSD benefits, it also sets a “date of disability.” This is the date on which the SSA believes your disability began. It is not always the same date as the date you apply or the date you are granted benefits. Still, this date matters for Medicare. This is because the SSA will enroll you in Medicare automatically – thirty (30) months after the date of disability, or two years from the “date of first pay”, or date that your benefits begin.

Medicare has four parts, each of which provides a different type of coverage:

  • Part A – People who receive SSD benefits are automatically enrolled in Part A. This helps to pay many hospital bills. There is no monthly premium for this part.
  • Part B – Like Part A, you are automatically enrolled in Part B if you receive SSD benefits. Part B helps to pay doctor’s bills. There is a monthly premium.
  • Part C – If you are enrolled in both Part A and Part B, you can choose to enroll in Part C, which is also known as a “Medicare Advantage” plan.  These plans are administered by private health insurers.
  • Part D – This part covers prescription medications. Because Part D has its own particular enrollment rules, it is wise to talk to Medicare or to your attorney about whether to enroll in Part D and how to complete your enrollment.

If I Am Not Sure I Can Afford to Pay a Premium for Medicare, What Can I Do?

Dealing with a disability can be financially draining. The two-year wait for Medicare enrollment can place an extra burden on a family’s finances. If you have low income and very few resources, you may be eligible for a state program that pays part or all of your Medicare premiums.  Some of these programs also cover costs like deductibles and co-insurance.

State programs to help low-income individuals are run through the state’s welfare or Medicaid offices.  By choosing a local attorney, you improve your chances of gaining an ally who knows these local offices well and can help you demonstrate your needs.

SSD benefits attorneys at Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., have helped many of our neighbors in Spartanburg, Greenville and across the South Carolina Upstate region get the benefits they need.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.