Individuals who are on Social Security Disability or SSI may also qualify for the
government health insurance programs. As with disability, income and
resources determine which programs apply. If the patient is on SSD, then he or
she may apply for Medicare after two years. This is a big hole in the system
since an employer only has to allow continuation of private health insurance
under COBRA for 18 months.
In contrast, the individual who has SSI, with or without SSD, probably qualifies
for Medicaid immediately. Although most people think of Medicaid as a
program for poor women and children, more than three quarters of all Medicaid
benefits go to the disabled.