In this installment of “Getting Medical Care After an Injury,” we discuss Medicare. As discussed in prior posts, hurt truckers have a difficult time getting medical care. Trucking companies often fire injured truck drivers causing them to lose health insurance and then deny workers’ compensation medical benefits.

As discussed in prior posts, Medicaid is a program that pays for medical care for individuals with limited financial resources who do not have enough quarters of work credit to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.  Medicare is the related program that provides medical care for individuals who do qualify for SSD.

SSD and Medicare usually go hand-in-hand.  If you are eligible for SSD, you will usually be eligible for Medicare after a waiting period (discussed below).  SSD and Medicare provide benefits for people who are unable to engage in substantial employment activities and have enough quarters of work credit to qualify for benefits.  As a general rule, if you have worked at least five of the last 10 years, you are “insured” for purposes of SSD and Medicare benefits.

To qualify for SSD and Medicare, an injured trucker must be “disabled” under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) rules.  The SSA considers several factors in deciding if someone is disabled. Generally, a trucker is “disabled” when he or she is not capable of doing substantial, gainful employment and his or her condition has existed or is expected to exist for at least a 12 month period.

Proving that you are “disabled” can be difficult. Social Security denies approximately 70% – 75% of the applications for disability. Using the services of an experienced Social Security attorney is important because many of these denials are turned into accepted claims after either reconsideration or a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Using a Social Security Disability attorney greatly increase your chances of success.

Unfortunately, there is a long delay in the start of Medicare benefits.  Medicare benefits starts 2 years after you are first entitled to SSD.  SSD benefits do not start until five full months after you become disabled.  These delays mean that you may have to wait nearly two-and-half years after you become disabled to be covered by Medicare.

Eligible Medicare recipients receive free hospital insurance through Medicare Part A.  Eligibility also entitles recipients to purchase medical insurance (Part B), Medical Advantage Plans (Part C), and Medicare Drug Prescription Plans (Part D).

If you have been denied SSD or Medicare benefits, contact us at 855-4-HURT-TRUCKER (855-448-7887) or email us at [email protected] or contact us on Facebook or Twitter.  We would be happy to talk with you about your claim free of charge.  If we can’t represent you, we will help you find an attorney who can.