I am a 59-year-old female and in June,2022 I was diagnosed with stage IIIA metastatic breast cancer. A non-profit Cancer program in Houston qualified me under Medicaid (Breast/Ovarian cancer program through the State of Texas) because I was unemployed, and I was referred to MD Anderson for treatment. I have had a radical mastectomy with chemotherapy and will be starting radiation next week.
Friends tell me I am crazy not to get my Social Security Disability because I need the income. Social Security has said I am eligible for disability (based on work credits) and the amount I can collect will be $2,015.
My question: If I can qualify for Social Security Disability due to my breast cancer because I am unable to work, will I be able to keep my Medicaid benefits? At present, I am not paying anything for my cancer treatments.
Thank you for any advice you may have! Terri, Waller, TX
Many Americans believe that qualifying for Social Security Disability can be the answer when you cannot work due to a serious illness. Your friends do not know the Medicaid or Medicare rules and can steer you in the wrong direction!
To qualify for Medicaid, one must meet certain income requirements and if you make $1 too much and I repeat $1 too much, then you can lose your Medicaid benefits.
You are just beginning your radiation treatments at MD Anderson and do not have to pay for anything because you have been blessed by qualifying for Medicaid. You could risk your Medicaid eligibility by applying for Social Security Disability.
The $2,015 Social Security Disability check may be too much income to keep you qualified for your Medicaid benefits and you could lose your precious Medicaid benefits.
Once you lose those benefits you will have to pay 100% for your cancer treatment because Medicaid will not be paying MD Anderson, any healthcare provider or facility. Now, your troubles will really begin!
When someone qualifies for Social Security Disability, it will take 24 months for you to begin qualifying for Medicare and Medicare will begin on the 25th month. (Chapter 1 of Toni’s Medicare Survival Guide Advanced edition explains how to enroll in Medicare the correct way.)
My advice is to wait and apply for Social Security Disability until after you have finished all your cancer treatments and are released with a clean bill of health. I would not want you to put the mental and financial burden on yourself and your family because you are worrying about how to get your cancer treatment and most of all how to pay for the treatments.
If you are not receiving cancer treatments when you are 62, go and apply for early Social Security benefits not Social Security Disability. At 62, one receives 75% of their Social Security amount. You will not receive 100% of your Social Security benefit until you reach your full retirement age (FRA).
At 65, apply for Original Medicare online at www.ssa.gov and enroll in a Medicare Supplement with a standalone Medicare Part D plan or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with Part D. One should always confirm that their cancer facility and/or medical providers accept the Medicare Advantage plan they are enrolling in. With Original Medicare, the Medicare recipient can make as much money as needed and not lose medical benefits. Not like losing Medicaid and your medical benefits because of making too much money.
Have a Medicare question, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 832-519-8664. Visit www.seniorresource.com/medicare-moments to listen to Toni’s Medicare Moments podcasts and to also download the Medicare Prescription Drug Survival Guide.
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