Social Security Disability, COBRA and Medicare Timeline
This is an ideal representation of the time-table of how COBRA, SSDI and Medicare should work together. Eligibility could shift based upon delays in award of SSDI, retroactive SSDI benefits, etc. You become qualified for Medicare 24 months after your SSDI benefits begin, including retroactive pay. You are ineligible for SSDI for the first 5 months of your disability, but don’t wait to begin the application process! The sooner you begin, the better your chance of avoiding a coverage gap.
An SSDI benefit request takes 300 days, on average, to process. COBRA providers must receive notification of SSDI award within 60 days of your receipt of notification, and before the initial 18-month COBRA coverage period expires. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re caught in a coverage gap!