Medicare and Disability

Enrolling in Medicare

You may be eligible for Medicare before age 65 if you have a qualifying disability. Eligibility usually starts after you’ve received disability benefits for 24 months.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • You’ll be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Your Medicare card will arrive in the mail a few weeks before your eligibility date. 
  • Your coverage starts the first day of the month you receive your 25th disability check. 
  • You still have an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) when you may make decisions about your Medicare coverage.

Your IEP is 7 months long. It includes your 25th month of disability, the 3 months before and the 3 months after.

Do you have ALS or ESRD?

Your Medicare eligibility date is calculated differently. Be sure to use the tool on this page to learn when you can enroll in Medicare.

Get Your Medicare Enrollment Dates

This simple tool will give you your personal IEP dates. Just enter the date you began receiving disability benefits or select the tab that matches your situation.

Enter your date of birth
Note: This information is used only to help calculate your enrollment dates.

Please enter a valid date.


Initial Enrollment Period: Turning 65 on

Enrollment Period

Birth Month (Or Month Prior if Born on the 1st)

Calendar
JAN.
FEB.
MAR.
APR.
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUG.
SEP.
OCT.
NOV.
DEC.
Calendar
JAN.
FEB.
MAR.
APR.
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUG.
SEP.
OCT.
NOV.
DEC.


Enter your retirement date or the date you're losing your employer coverage (whichever happens first).
Note: This information is used only to help calculate your enrollment dates.

Please enter a valid date.


Special Enrollment for Parts A and B: Retiring or losing coverage in .

ENROLLMENT PERIOD

RETIREMENT DATE (OR DATE YOUR COVERAGE ENDS)

Calendar
JAN.
FEB.
MAR.
APR.
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUG.
SEP.
OCT.
NOV.
DEC.
Calendar
JAN.
FEB.
MAR.
APR.
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUG.
SEP.
OCT.
NOV.
DEC.

Special Enrollment Period for Parts C and D: Retiring or losing coverage in

Calendar
JAN.
FEB.
MAR.
APR.
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUG.
SEP.
OCT.
NOV.
DEC.
Calendar
JAN.
FEB.
MAR.
APR.
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUG.
SEP.
OCT.
NOV.
DEC.

Check the box if you have the following:
Note: This information is used only to help calculate your enrollment dates.

-OR-

Enter date you began receiving disability benefits.
Note: This information is used only to help calculate your enrollment dates.

Please check a box or enter a valid date

Initial Enrollment Period: Began receiving disability benefits in .

Enrollment period

25th month of receiving disability benefits

Calendar
JAN.
FEB.
MAR.
APR.
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUG.
SEP.
OCT.
NOV.
DEC.
Calendar
JAN.
FEB.
MAR.
APR.
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUG.
SEP.
OCT.
NOV.
DEC.

Medicare Coverage and ALS

You are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and Part B the month your Social Security disability benefits begin when you have ALS. It’s a good idea to apply for these benefits as soon as you are diagnosed, since there may be a waiting period before they kick in.

Even though you are enrolled in Original Medicare automatically, you may still make other Medicare coverage choices, such as adding Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Coverage and ESRD

You may get Medicare benefits at any age if you have ESRD and one of the following applies:

  • You are eligible for Medicare based on your work record.
  • You are already getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, or you are eligible for benefits.
  • Your spouse or parent meets one of the above requirements.

Medicare coverage starts the fourth month you receive dialysis treatments. For example, your Medicare coverage would start on October 1 if you start getting your dialysis treatments in July.

Medicare coverage could start the first month you receive treatments if all of these apply:

  • You attend a home dialysis training program provided by a Medicare-certified training facility.
  • Your doctor expects you to complete the training and be able to do your own dialysis treatments.
  • You maintain regular dialysis treatments throughout the usual required waiting period.

You must enroll in Original Medicare Parts A and B yourself. Once you have both Part A and Part B, you may make other Medicare coverage choices, such as adding Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you are 65 or older, or disabled, and are already enrolled in Part A, you may enroll in Part B without penalty if you are approved for Medicare based on ESRD. You may also have an existing Part B late enrollment penalty removed.

How to Use Your Initial Enrollment Period

If you do nothing during your IEP, you will be covered by Original Medicare (Parts A and B). However, Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything.

Your IEP is when you may make other Medicare coverage choices based on your needs, such as adding a prescription drug (Part D) plan and Medicare supplement insurance or choosing a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. It’s best to act early to avoid gaps in coverage and possible late enrollment penalties.

Medicare and Disability: Other Coverage

If you have other coverage, such as through an employer, you may choose to delay Part B. Follow the directions on the back of your Medicare card to notify Medicare of your decision.

Note that you could be charged a Part B premium penalty if you decide to enroll in Part B later. Your employer must provide creditable coverage so you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and avoid the penalty.

Get the Medicare coverage you need for your situation.

You may have special health care needs, and you have options. Get information and help for finding a Medicare plan that may fit your needs.

Learn more