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How To Apply For A COBRA Extension Because of Disability

Step 1. Apply For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Right Away -- Even If You're Not Eligible To Receive SSDI Benefits.

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Although there is a 5 month waiting period before SSDI payments start, do not wait until the end of the waiting period to apply. Gathering the necessary information and processing a claim takes time. If your claim is denied, you will have time to file at least one appeal, and maybe more.

If Social Security has not made a decision about your disability status before the end of the 18 months of regular COBRA, then there is no way to extend the coverage even if Social Security later approves your claim.

At the time of application, tell Social Security that you have COBRA so they will expedite the claim.

If you are not eligible for SSDI due to not having paid into the Social Security system (for example, many school teachers and government employees), apply anyway. Tell Social Security that you are applying for COBRA extension purposes. Social Security representatives have been instructed to process your claim to determine your disabled status. Some Social Security employees are not familiar with this directive, so you may need to speak to a supervisor.

To learn about applying for SSDI, see: Applying For SSDI.

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