What Happens If I Become Disabled Again?
Your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can continue.
- If you become disabled during the 9 month Trial Work Period or the additional 3 month period: You continue to receive benefits during these periods. The fact you have to stop working does not affect the continuation of your benefits. To learn more, see Return to Work 101 - An Overview
- If you are unable to continue working while you are still in the Extended Period Of Eligibility, you may resume your benefits.
- Depending on when your file was last reviewed, Social Security may request a new application to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but you will not be subjected to a new five month waiting period. Your benefits will start accruing (be payable to you) immediately, even if processing delays the actual payments for a month or two.
if You Receive Medicare, Consider keeping your employer's health insurance even if you have Medicare.
- If you returned to work after being off work because of a health condition, and find that you have to stop work again because of your health condition or for any other non-disciplinary reason: Consider keeping the employer health insurance in force tahrough COBRA for the full 29 months allowed to disabled persons.
- You have the right to keep health insurance in force under COBRA, just as you did when you first left employment.
- Be aware that the COBRA rules do say that COBRA health insurance rights are ended by becoming enrolled in Medicare. However, the COBRA rules do not prevent new COBRA rights for people who are already on Medicare who then later leave employment. Therefore, you're entitled to another 29 months on the last employer's health plan through COBRA all over again!
- If your employer or its health insurer object, refer them to the following court cases:
- John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company v. King, 500 N.W.2d 619 (S.D. 1993).
- Geissal v. Moore Medical Corporation 118 S. Ct. 1869 (1998).
- The IRS regulations on COBRA, 64 Federal Register 5160, 5168, which explicitly grant people already on Medicare a new COBRA right when they leave a new employer.
Keep in mind that, as with any COBRA situation:
- You will have to provide the employer or its health insurer with written proof that you are considered disabled by the Social Security Administration as of the date of your leaving employment in order to get the "extra" 11 disability months under COBRA.
- You will have to pay your premiums on time.
- If you can't afford the COBRA payments, you will have to arrange for Medicaid (if you're eligible for it) or another program which you can find through your disease specific nonprofit organization. (For example, through ADAP if you are HIV positive).
Information for this section provided by:
Thomas McCormack Author of: AIDS Benefits Handbook (Yale University Press)