My father was diagnosed with Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He was just approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but this will not provide enough to pay medical bills. How long will it be before he is eligible for Medicare?

Most people who receive Social Security Disability benefits are not eligible to receive Medicare benefits until they have collected benefits for 24 months. There are two exceptions:

  1. End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): Those with ESRD may receive Medicare three months after beginning regular dialysis treatment or immediately after a kidney transplant.
  2. Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease): Patients with ALS are eligible for Medicare when they are approved for SSDI.

This means that since your father was approved for SSDI for ALS, he is also approved for Medicare Part A and B. He is eligible for all the benefits that are available to those over age 65, including hospital, physician, home health, nursing home, and community-based services. The services do not have to be related to his disability.

Because your father was approved for SSDI, he will be automatically enrolled in the Medicare program and should receive a Medicare card in the mail. If he does not receive the card, contact your local Social Security office. 

Do you have additional questions about SSDI and other disability benefits? Request a free copy of Boston disability attorney John Keefe’s book, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability. If you’d like to discuss your own situation with a Massachusetts SSDI attorney, please contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer