Eliminate the Waiting Periods for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Medicare Coverage
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides a critical economic safety net for individuals who can no longer work due to serious and long-lasting medical impairment. In many cases, SSDI payments are a crucial lifeline for cancer patients who cannot work because of their cancer diagnosis.
Individuals who qualify for SSDI benefits are required to complete a five-month waiting period before they are entitled to cash benefits. In 2017, estimates showed as many as 10,000 Americans died while waiting for a decision on their SSDI benefits.
Those who survive the five-month wait are then forced to wait an additional 24 months—two full years—before their Medicare benefits begin. These unnecessary delays deny cancer patients access to critical supports when they need them most.
Facts and Figures
For most beneficiaries, SSDI benefits represent 75 percent or more of their monthly income.
The average monthly SSDI benefit for disabled workers is $1,259.
Without SSDI benefits, nearly half of all disabled beneficiaries would be in poverty. Even with benefits included in their income, one in five live below the poverty level.
More than 20 percent of SSDI beneficiaries have no health insurance coverage during the Medicare waiting period.
News & Updates
Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act (H.R.3183/S.1312)
Sicker and Poorer: The Consequences of Being Uninsured for People with Disability During the Medicare Waiting Period (Feb 15, 2015)
Health Insurance and Access to Care Among Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries During the Medicare Waiting Period (2006)
What You Can Do
Support the Stop the Wait Act (H.R.4386/S.2496), which would phase out the five-month waiting period for SSDI benefits and make Medicare benefits immediately available to SSDI beneficiaries.
Support the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act (H.R.3183/S.1312), which would make SSDI and Medicare benefits immediately available to persons living with metastatic breast cancer.
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