Senior Life
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More June questions and answers from Social Security

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[June 10, 2011]  Question:  

I’m applying for disability benefits. Do I automatically receive Medicare benefits if I'm approved for disability benefits? 


You will receive Medicare after you receive disability benefits for 24 months. When you become eligible for disability benefits, we will automatically enroll you in Medicare. We start counting the 24 months from the month you were entitled to receive disability, not the month when you received your first payment. 

Special rules apply to people with permanent kidney failure and those with “Lou Gehrig's Disease” (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Learn more about Social Security disability benefits by reading our publication at  


I'm thinking about getting disability insurance from a private company. If I become disabled and have a private policy, would it reduce my Social Security disability benefit? 


No. Your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits is not affected by any private insurance you may have. But workers’ compensation and certain other public disability payments may affect your Social Security benefit. You also should ask the company providing your disability protection what effect Social Security will have on the benefits they provide. 

For more information about Social Security disability benefits, read our publication at 



Can my children receive dependent's benefits because I am on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? 


No. SSI benefits are based on the needs of the individual and are paid only to the qualifying person. There are no spouse's, children's or survivors benefits. However, if your children are disabled themselves, they might be eligible to receive SSI benefits. To learn more about SSI benefits, read our publication on the subject at  


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What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? 


SSI is a needs-based program administered by Social Security that provides monthly income to people who are 65 or older, blind, or disabled and who have limited income and financial resources. You can be eligible even if you have never worked in a job covered under Social Security. SSI is paid through general revenue taxes, not Social Security payroll taxes. To receive SSI, your financial resources (savings and assets you own) cannot be more than $2,000 ($3,000 if you are married). If you are married, a portion of your spouse's income may be counted when deciding whether you are eligible. Generally, to be eligible for SSI, an individual also must be a resident of the United States and must be either a citizen or a noncitizen lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Learn more about SSI benefits at 



If I have a question about my Medicare bill, who should I contact first? 


First, contact your provider. If you are unable to get your question answered or problem resolved, then contact 1-800 MEDICARE. For more information about Medicare benefits, visit



By Judith Bartels

Social Security District Manager in Springfield, IL  

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