To qualify for full Medicare benefits, the applicant must be age 65 or older and must have worked for at least 10 years, according to AARP. People under age 65 can apply for Medicare under special circumstances.
In general, those who have worked at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment and are age 65 or older are eligible for Medicare benefits. Certain exceptions are made for people with end-stage renal disease, who may be able to receive Medicare benefits sooner than age 65, according to Medicare.gov.
In addition, a person may receive Medicare benefits before they turn 65 if they have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance. After the 25th SSDI payment, the recipient should be covered by Medicare, states Medicare Interactive. People suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis are exempt from the 24-month waiting period and are eligible for Medicare at the onset of ALS, reports the Social Security Administration.