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My friend is 72, lives in Georgia. She is going blind and has the beginning of dementia. She told me she can’t get Medicare or Medicaid because she didn’t work enough to pay enough into Social Security during her working years. She said her husband (now deceased) didn’t qualify for it either as he had some kind of annuity. I don’t think she’s getting anything like that, just what little Social Security she can get. Is it true that you have to have paid in a certain amount during your life time to even get Medicare? I told her to try and find a number for “The Council on Aging” and see if they can send her in the right direction. Does anyone else have any other suggestions I can give her?

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Many federal employees have been paying into Social Security. I started to when I switched from the old retirement system to FERS decades ago. Many other employees of various levels of government also pay into Social Security. Many teachers still don't.
If you didn't pay into Medicare Part A it is possible to pay for that coverage instead of getting it for free (because you already paid taxes for it when working).
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JoAnn29 Nov 24, 2018
My Sister passed in 1996. She worked for the NSA. She was given the choice between her pension and SS, she opted for her pension. Her disabled child gets her annuity.
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Will pass all this on to her daughter. Thanks.
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Her husband was probably government. They do not pay into SS. They do have Medical insurance that as his widow she I would, i think, receive unless she turned it down. Once turned down she can't change her mind. The annuity she receives is her husbands Pension. She would have to have worked 40 qtrs (10yrs) to receive SS and Medicare. You may find she does carry a government insurance.

www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/Guide-Me/Retirees-Survivors/
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If your friend (or her husband) didn't pay into Medicare for at least 10 years (payroll deductions), then she wouldn't qualify.
However, she should be eligible for Medicaid (free government sponsored health insurance for low income people/families) if her Social Security payment is low enough. She would need to speak with the Medicaid office directly to see if she qualifies. Maybe someone at her local Senior Center could assist her (for free).

What health insurance has/had she been using up until this time?

If she makes too much to qualify for Medicaid, there's always "Obamacare". They CAN'T turn her away. She should get hooked up with a social worker ASAP, especially if she has no family. She also should have papers drawn up for Durable Power of Attorney for when her dementia becomes too advanced.

Good luck to your friend.
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