If you are at least age 62 and have worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment, your spouse can get Medicare Parts A and B at age 65. If you have worked at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment but are not yet age 62 when your spouse turns age 65, he or she will not be eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A until your 62nd birthday. In this case, your spouse should still apply for Medicare Part B at age 65 so that he/she can avoid paying a higher Part B premium. However, if you are still working and your spouse is covered under your group health plan, he/she could delay enrollment in Part B without paying higher premiums. See: Can I delay my Medicare Part B enrollment without paying higher premiums? for more information on this. See also: How do I enroll in Medicare?
Eligibility For Family Members
Under certain conditions, your spouse, divorced spouse, widow or widower, or a dependent parent may be eligible for hospital insurance when your spouse turns 65, based on your work record.
Also, disabled widows and widowers under age 65, disabled divorced widows and widowers under 65, and disabled children may be eligible for Medicare, usually after a 24-month qualifying period. (For disabled widows/widowers, previous months of eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) based on disability may count toward the qualifying period.)
Q: Do I automatically get Medicare benefits if I'm eligible for disability benefits?
A: After you have received disability benefits for 24 months, we will automatically enroll you in Medicare. We start counting the 24 months from the month you were entitled to receive disability, not the month when you received your first benefit payment. Sometimes you can get State Medicaid in the meantime. There are exceptions to this rule. People with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) and chronic renal disease may be able to get Medicare earlier. For more information, visit
or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213.