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living with ms
take control through education About SSDI Trying to access resources or programs that a person living with MS may be entitled to can be overwhelming. Questions race through your head like: How do I get Disability? What government programs am I eligible for? Should I stop working? What’s SSDI? What will Medicare and Medicaid cover? What does my insurance cover?
While all of this can be frustrating and overwhelming, you can take control by knowing as much as you can about your situation. Here are some things to keep in mind: • Get organized. No one else will do that for you. Get a binder and organize it keeping insurance files together, a record of doctor’s visits, when you were on what medications, hospital stays, a list of frequently called numbers, etc. The more you know the better off you’ll be. • Actually read your insurance plan. Know what your insurance covers for medications, office visits, physical or occupational therapy. Don’t hesitate to call your insurance company. That’s why they are there. • Do your research. Here are some useful web sites: Social Security Disability - ssa.gov, Medicare – mymedicare.gov, Medicaid – medicaid.gov, Missouri Bar Association – mobar. org, help with prescription medication costs – needymeds.org (most drug companies have patient assistance). • Remember Social Security Disability, Medicare and Medicaid are designed to be supplemental, they are not made to support all of your needs. Do not plan to live off these programs.
To be eligible for Social Security Disability insurance you must have a persistent, chronic condition that is going to last longer than a year and you must make less than $1,000 a month. Just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you’ll qualify and it can take 6 months to know if you’re going to get approved for SSDI. If you do qualify for SSDI, you won’t get Medicare until the 25th month, so you’ll need insurance through COBRA, your spouse’s plan, or you can buy into a high-risk insurance pool. Most people are denied the first time they apply for SSDI. If you are denied, make sure you appeal it within 60 days.
About Medicare Medicare is health insurance for older people who are disabled. Medicare occasionally covers a limited amount of things like in-home care, respite care, nursing home placement, and longterm care, but doesn’t pay for structure changes to make your home accessible. It will pay for things like scooter repair. Utilize the resources at mymedicare.gov where you can include your doctors, medications, etc. and it will generate the top three plans for you based on co-pays and deductibles. Open enrollment is October 15 to December 7 when you can change your Medicare plan without any penalties.
About Medicaid Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal and state governments for low income people who are disabled. It does pay for skilled nursing home placement and now covers incontinence products. Go to healthcare.gov.