What Is the Difference Between Disability and Medicare Benefits?


Quick Answer

Social Security Disability is a cash payment program for those who are disabled, and Medicare is a program that helps cover the cost of medical treatment. Disability payments go directly to the disabled person or his guardian, and Medicare payments go directly to doctors or other health care providers, explains the Social Security Administration.

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Full Answer

SSD is a federal government program that pays out a cash benefit to those who are no longer able to work due to a qualifying medical condition or disability. The disability must be present for at least one year and prevent the applicant from maintaining employment, according to the Social Security Administration. The amount of the benefit depends on the person's work and income history. There are special circumstances in which disabled people do not meet the requirements for SSD and instead receive benefits from a program called Supplemental Security Income. SSI is also a cash payment program, and the recipient must meet certain disability and financial criteria.

Medicare is an insurance and prescription drug program for the retired and the disabled, reports the Social Security Administration. A disabled person automatically qualifies for Medicare after receiving SSD for two years. Medicare Part A pays for inpatient hospital bills, and Medicare Part B pays for outpatient care and doctor visits. Medicare Part C plans are privately run programs that a person may opt for in some parts of the United States, and Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage. Some of these Medicare programs require a premium payment.

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