If you have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, you are eligible for automatic enrollment into Medicare the first month you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or a railroad disability annuity check.

Once you are diagnosed with ALS, you should submit your completed application for SSDI to Social Security or your application for a railroad disability annuity to the Railroad Retirement Board. You will be subject to a five-month waiting period before your disability benefits begin. Make sure to explicitly state that you have ALS on your disability benefits application. Once you are through your five-month waiting period, your Medicare will begin the same month as your disability benefits.

To apply for SSDI, contact your local Social Security office. To apply for a railroad disability annuity, call your local Railroad Retirement Board field office.