Q. I am a 52-year-old male with multiple health problems. I have just applied for SSI and would like to know what I might expect. I have been on long-term leave for two years and was just relieved of my employment. I am uninsurable for health and medical insurance. COBRA is too expensive to afford. I will not be able to afford my doctors visits or medications. Can you help me with some needed advice?

A. Did you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits based on your Social Security earnings record or for Supplementary Security Income (SSI)? SSI is an assistance program for persons with little or no income or assets. Perhaps you applied for both.

Individuals who qualify for SSI generally become immediately eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint Federal-state program of medical assistance to persons unable to afford the medical care they need. Application for Medicaid is made through your local Medicaid agency.

Individuals who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) become eligible for Medicare in the 25th month of benefit payment. No medical benefits are available earlier unless the individual also is eligible for Medicaid.