SSDI/SSI and Medicare

Social Security benefits programs like Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance provide financial assistance to senior citizens and those living with disabilities. It is possible to qualify and benefit from both for those with limited financial resources and work history. 

The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs differ but have the same medical requirements. When you meet all the non-medical requirement criteria, you’ll receive monthly benefits if you have a severe medical condition. 

Social Security defines disability strictly and correlates to your capacity to perform a job and the proposed length of your disability. Disability eligibility requires you to submit medical records in support of your application. Temporary, partial, or short-term injuries are not eligible for SSI or SSDI.

SSDI/SSI and Medicare

Social Security Disability Insurance

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program benefits you or certain family members when you are “insured.” Insured means that you’ve worked long and recently enough and have also paid Social Security taxes on your earnings.

The most significant difference between SSI and SSDI is that your age, disability, and limited income determine your SSI eligibility. SSDI eligibility is based on your disability and your work history.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income pays monthly benefits to individuals with limited income who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. SSI and Social Security differ in many ways. SSI benefits are not based on your prior work or a family member’s previous work, unlike Social Security. 

The U.S. Treasury’s general funds finance SSI. Social Security is funded by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or the Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA). To qualify for SSI, you must also:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or national, or a qualified immigrant;
  • Live in one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands;
  • Not be absent from the U.S. for an entire calendar month or 30 or more consecutive days.


Social Security and Medicare both provide benefits for those 65 years or older and those with disabilities. Social Security provides retirement and disability benefits, and Medicare provides health care for people 65 years of age and older.

Social Security provides vital financial support. Medicare is a health insurance program that covers doctor visits, hospital stays, and other medical treatments.  If you are receiving Social Security, then the Social Security Administration will handle your enrollment and automatically sign you up for Medicare benefits at age 65.

Can you get SSI and Medicare at the same time?

Generally, if you are approved for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, you will receive Medicare. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients usually will get Medicaid. States pay for the Medicare premiums of individuals that receive SSI benefits when they are also eligible for Medicaid.

However, this isn’t true in all states. Since states operate Medicaid, each state sets its eligibility criteria which differ from SSI’s standards. Whether you get approved for SSI once you get Medicaid depends on your state’s requirements. 

SSDI recipients aren’t eligible to receive Medicare benefits until two years after their date of entitlement. The date of entitlement is when your disability begins, up to a year before your application date. 

Disability benefit approval typically takes one to two years. However, SSDI recipients often become eligible for Medicare soon after receiving their Social Security award letter. For states with automatic Medicaid eligibility for SSI recipients, there is no waiting period for receiving Medicaid. In other states, you have to apply for Medicaid separately, and there is no waiting period.

Pisegna and Zimmerman, Social Security Benefits Attorneys, Can Support You

If you’re unsure about where your benefits fit in within these parameters, then speak with an SSDI/SSI and Medicare professional.  Working with a Social Security benefits attorney could help you ensure that your claim goes smoothly and reduces your wait time while decreasing the likelihood of denial. 

It may prove challenging to survive while you’re waiting for Social Security disability benefits. You could continue working or get a job as long as you don’t make more than $1,220 per month. Some have had success by applying for ancillary benefits or borrowing from family. What’s most important is that you build a support network to assist you through these difficult times. 

Your Social Security disability lawyer won’t help you get a faster hearing. Still, they can ensure that you reduce those common procedural mistakes that generally hamper the process.

A Social Security disability lawyer could help you receive your benefits faster because you could be eligible for expedited pay or immediate payments.

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