A bill that has recently been introduced in Congress aims to do away with the 5-month waiting period that mandatorily applies to Social Security disability claimants whose claims have been approved. Even after a Social Security disability applicant’s claim is approved, he must wait 5 months before he starts receiving his benefits. If the person also qualifies for Medicare befits, then those privileges have an even longer wait time attached to them. Social Security disability claimants who have begun receiving their benefits must wait a further 24 months before their Medicare benefits start kicking in.
Some exceptions have been made to the 24-month Medicare waiting rule. For example, individuals who are suffering from terminal kidney failure or advanced stages of ALS may have their wait period eliminated. The wait times are extremely distressing for Social Security disability beneficiaries who cannot afford to wait for important medical care as well as money to meet their daily expenses. The bill spearheaded by Representative Steve Israel (D) New York, aims to eliminate both the 5-month waiting period and the 24-month waiting period for commencement of Medicare benefits.
As a Social Security disability lawyer who sees firsthand how stressful those wait times are for claimants, I strongly support this bill. I also support the waiver of the 5-month waiting period as well as the 2-year waiting period for Medicare benefits for all claimants. Many disabilities make it virtually impossible for a person to earn enough to support himself and his family. Making him wait arbitrary lengths of time to begin receiving benefits only increases the stress on the disability applicant and their loved ones.