The Social Security Administration recently announced that people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, can now get Social Security disability benefits as soon as they qualify. Normally, when people with disabilities are approved for Social Security disability benefits, they have a five-month waiting period before their cash benefits start. They are then entitled to Medicare after two years of receiving cash benefits. Existing federal law had already included a special provision for people with ALS to not have the two-year waiting period before Medicare benefits start.
The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act, passed in December 2020, eliminates the five-month Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) waiting period for people with ALS. This means that people with ALS can get their SSDI cash benefits and their Medicare coverage as soon as they are approved for Social Security disability benefits. These changes apply to people who were approved for benefits on or after July 23, 2020.