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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Benefits Q&A

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Medicare for Disabled Spouses Before Age 65

(Posted February 9, 2000)

Question 41: If the spouse of an active rail worker becomes disabled before 65, can she or he become eligible for Medicare through Railroad Retirement? If not, are Medicare benefits the same for Social Security and Railroad Retirement beneficaries?

Answer: A disabled spouse of an active rail worker cannot qualify for Medicare from the Railroad Retirement Board until he or she attains age 65, the normal age for Medicare. The spouse could, however, qualify as a disabled worker under the Social Security system provided he or she has sufficient credits under that system and meets the criteria for disability. In that event, Social Security initially would enroll the spouse in Medicare after two years of disability payments. When the spouse reached 65, Medicare jurisdiction would be transferred to Railroad Retirement.

There is an exception for people who have end stage renal failure. A Spouse under age 65 who has this desease may immediately qualify for Medicare

Except for limited benefits for services received by Railroad Retirement Beneficiaries in Canada, there is no difference in Medicare benefits. The only difference is which agency collects the monthly premiums for Part B.


Important notice:

Answers are provided as general guidance on the subjects covered in the question and are not provided as legal advice to the questioner or to readers. Any legal issues should be reviewed by your legal counsel to apply the law to the particular facts of this and similar situations.

The law in this area changes frequently. Answers are believed to be correct as of the posting dates shown. The completeness or accuracy of a particular answer may be affected by changes in the law (statutes, regulations, rulings, court decisions, etc.) that occur after the date on which a particular Q&A is posted.


Copyright 1997-2017 Robert S. Kaufman
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