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Under 65 with a Disability

Some people living with a disability who are under age 65 may be able to enroll in Medicare. These are people who:

I get SSDI. Does that mean I can enroll in Medicare?

First, make sure to check your benefits—SSDI and SSI are two different programs.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (or SSDI program) gives income to people who are found disabled and unable to work. People who have worked long enough are eligible to get this benefit from Social Security. SSDI benefits usually start 6 months after you are found disabled.

People who have not worked long enough are eligible for what is called SSI, or Supplemental Security Income. The SSI program gives cash to people who have very limited income to meet their daily needs who have not worked long enough to get SSDI. These people can be 65 or older, or younger and unable to work because of a disability. The SSI program is not the same as SSDI. You can usually get Medicaid from your state when you get SSI but you do not qualify for Medicare until you turn 65.

After you get SSDI benefits for 2 years (24 months), you can get Medicare. You do not have to do anything to enroll in Medicare. You will automatically be enrolled. Your Medicare card should arrive usually around the 23rd month that you get disability benefits. If it does not come by the 24th month, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or visit them online. Your Medicare benefits begin the 25th month you get SSDI.

Once you are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you should review the other options such as getting Part D prescription drug coverage. Get personal help with reviewing your options.

Learn more about the SSDI program from Social Security.

Learn more about SSI program from Social Security.

Have you been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) or End Stage Renal Disease? Learn more about these two conditions, and when you may qualify for Medicare:

Other programs that can help you

There are programs that can help people with Medicare who have limited income and resources pay for the costs Medicare does not cover.

  • Medicare Savings Programs. These help people with limited incomes pay for Medicare Part A and B costs, such as the Part A and B premiums, deductibles, and copayments. Learn More
  • Low-Income Subsidy (LIS)/Extra Help Program. This program helps people with limited incomes pay for Medicare Part D costs. These include the plan deductible, monthly plan premiums, and prescription drug copayments. Learn More
  • Additional Help with Part D. There may be other programs in your state that can help you pay for your Part D costs. Learn More

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