SHIIP Is Not Just for Seniors

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SHIIP Monthly Column

June 2016

Contact: Kerry Hall


The services of SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program of the North Carolina Department of Insurance, are not only for people aged 65 and older. SHIIP also provides free counseling about Medicare to people on Medicare due to a disability.

Before you can receive Medicare due to a disability, you must have received Social Security Disability Insurance for a period of time.

In most situations, before an individual can receive SSDI a date of onset must be established. In addition, a five-month waiting period must be served before a person is entitled to Social Security disability cash payments. Once you have been entitled to disability for 24 months after that waiting period (5 months plus 24 months equals 29 months total) and you are younger than 65, you are eligible for Medicare disability if you meet at least one of the following three criteria.

  • You have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for 24 months. This includes widows, widowers and children who receive benefits because of disability.
  • You receive a disability annuity from the railroad retirement board and meet certain conditions.
  • You have worked long enough in a government job where Medicare taxes were paid and you meet the requirements of the Social Security disability program.

If you have permanent kidney failure, you are eligible for Medicare at any age. This is true if you receive maintenance dialysis or a kidney transplant and you are either eligible for or receive monthly benefits under Social Security or the railroad retirement system, or you are the dependent child or spouse (including a divorced spouse) of a worker (living or deceased) who has worked long enough under Social Security or in a government job where Medicare taxes were paid.

You can apply for disability benefits at your local Social Security office or online at or call 800-772-1213 or 800-325-0778 (TTY) to make an appointment to file an application.

For answers to any of your other Medicare questions contact SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program. To speak with a local trained counselor in Currituck County contact the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at 252-232-2261. In Dare County contact the Baum Center at 252-475-5635. In Camden County contact the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at 252-338-1919. You can also speak to a counselor over the phone at the state SHIIP office 855-408-1212 or visit the website

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