Medicare is a federally funded healthcare benefit for people over the age of sixty-five who have worked for more than ten years for a Medicare-covered employer, and it’s also for many younger individuals with disabilities.
For younger individuals with disabilities, including mental disabilities, eligibility for Medicare is tied to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). That is, you must first be deemed eligible and receive SSDI before becoming eligible for the Medicare benefit. To be considered eligible for SSDI, the individual must be considered disabled (at least for twelve months, or the disability must be expected to last at least twelve months) and have worked at a job long enough, and recently enough, and have paid payroll (FICA) taxes.
• Information on SSDI eligibility and starter kits are available through the Department of Social Services (DSS): www.socialsecurity.gov/; toll free 800-772-1213; TTY 1-800-325-0778.
• Information on Medicare eligibility is available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): www.cms.hhs.gov/; toll free 877-267-2323; TTY 866-226-1819.