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Ask Ms. Medicare

Medicare/Disability Eligibility?

Q. I am age 53, disabled and unable to work. Will I lose my Social Security disability benefits and Medicare if I come into some money through an inheritance? 

A. No. If you suddenly become better off through an inheritance or a payoff from a lucky investment or any similar financial windfall, your Social Security disability insurance benefits (SSDI) will not be affected, nor will you lose your entitlement to Medicare.

Social Security officials say that only earnings from wages or self-employment income can reduce SSDI payments. Unearned income is not counted.

Even people on SSDI who are able to return to partial or full-time work usually continue to receive Medicare benefits. As long as their disabling condition still meets Social Security rules, they can keep Medicare coverage for at least 8.5 years after returning to work.

For more information, see Social Security’s “Questions and Answers on Extended Medicare Coverage for Working People With Disabilities.”

For more information on the Social Security Administration’s program for helping people with disabilities return to work, go online to “The Work Site.

Patricia Barry is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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