Children & End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

How to tell if your child is eligible

One of these conditions must apply to you:

  • You (or your spouse) have earned at least 6 credits within the last 3 years by working and paying Social Security taxes.
  • You (or your spouse) are getting, or are eligible for, Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits.


One of these conditions must apply to your child:

  • Your child needs regular dialysis because their kidneys no longer work.
  • Your child has had a kidney transplant.

To enroll your child in Medicare, or to get more information about eligibility, contact Social Security. If you visit your local Social Security office, you might be asked to bring these documents:

A child is defined as one of these:

  • An unmarried person younger than 22
  • A person who is between the ages of 22-26 and who meets other requirements

Also, they must be one of these:

  • Your biological child
  • Your legally adopted child
  • Your stepchild (for at least 1 year)
  • Your grandchild or step-grandchild (in some cases)

If your child gets Medicare because of permanent kidney failure and doesn’t qualify for Medicare for another reason, their Medicare coverage will end:

  • 12 months after the last month of dialysis treatments. 
  • 36 months after the month of a kidney transplant.  

Medicare coverage will resume if your child meets certain conditions.

Beginning January 1, 2023, Medicare will offer a new benefit that helps continue to pay for your immunosuppressive drugs beyond 36 months, if you don’t have other health coverage. Get details about the new program.  

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