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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Can a Disabled Spouse Get Early Medicare?

(Posted June 2, 2010)

Question 756: My wife receives a spouse annuity from Railroad Retirement. She is 64 and recently became disabled. Can she claim disability with Railroad Retirement for the purpose of receiving Medicare before 65?

Answer: Neither Railroad Retirement or Social Security provides early Medicare for a disabled spouse.

But if she is now disabled from regular employment and she paid into Social Security (via payroll taxes, typically), she can file for a Disability Insurance Benefit and receive early Medicare. But there is a 5-month waiting period before disability benefits would begin, and then an additional 2-year waiting period before early Medicare coverage would begin.

Because she is already 64, early Medicare might not help her, due to the waiting period described above. Before the waiting period ends, she might become 65 and eligible for regular Medicare.

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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