There are several government programs for individuals that have or are facing some form of disability. These resources are intended to serve as a safety net and can be turned to in difficult times. Some private studies show that almost 1 in 5 people will face some form of short or long term disability by the time they turn 67. The assistance provided by the government or non-profits can help address a variety of needs, including housing, energy bills, health care costs, rent, and much more.
While of course no one plans on becoming disabled, the fact is that it can happen unexpectedly. Most families need some sort of help to pay the bills that could occur as a result of this event or maybe to make up for a loved ones lost income. Whether the issue is a mental or physical disability, there are resources that can assist.
One of the reasons that the Social Security program was created was to provide some sort of comfort so that people know they can receive some benefits if they become disabled. Information on the main programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicare, low income energy assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and others are listed below. There is also information on how charities as well as other groups can provide solutions.
Applying, and being approved for a disability, is usually required in order to receive any type of financial assistance. Many of the primary programs for the disabled are listed below. Some are administered by the federal government or states, and others are offered by non-profit organizations. In any case, it is often recommended that an individual formally apply for benefits before pursuing these options. More on how to apply for disability.
Veteran disability compensation is a grant or financial assistance that is paid to people that have served our country. If the disability is the result of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty or that were made significantly worse by military service, then individuals may be able to benefit. 1-800-827-1000.
The federal government Social Security Administration will also accelerate the review, and approval, of disability applications from veterans and wounded warriors. This is available to those that are classified as 100 permanent and total (or P&T) and that meet other conditions. The expedited process will allow them to receive their benefits and any cash compensation in less time. Continue with disabled claims for veterans.
Heating or cooling bill assistance can be provided to the disabled by the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. While it is paid for by the federal government, applications are accepted at the state and local level. Many community action agencies administer LIHEAP, and they are able to apply first, before others. Priority for any grants is given to applicants with a disability or that may be at risk without their heat. Read LIHEAP programs.
Direct financial assistance is generally available to those that qualify from the Social Security and the Supplemental Security Income disability program. There is cash available to pay for all sort of bills, whether they are related to medical needs, housing, or other expenses. Both of the programs referenced above are paid for and are administered by the federal government and the Social Security Administration. They do have restrictions in place and any aid is only offered to those with a proven disability and that meet certain medical criteria. If you are approved, then a number of benefits may be provided. Phone number is 1-800-772-1213.
Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, pays cash assistance and other benefits. It is offered to individuals and members of your immediate family that meet program terms. Individuals should really think of this program as insurance and it can be turned to when a serious medical condition, injury, or some other hardship prevents you from working or in somehow impacts your life.
Another option is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is the second main federal government program for the disabled. While this may not be widely known, it is paid for by general tax revenues and not Social Security taxes. This program can assist the blind, aged, disabled and even their children that either have a very low or maybe even no income. SSI can help pay for housing, food, and clothing, among other needed items. It pay benefits based on what the applicant needs.
The application review process is done by a local Disability Determination Services (DDS) office and these are located in every state across the nation. Staff from those centers make the financial decision on whether someone qualifies for financial assistance or not. In some cases the federal government will deny your application for SSDI or Supplemental Security Income. The individual is always notified no matter what the decision is. Find more information on Disability Determination Services.
There is a process in place to appeal this decision if need be. If your disability application is denied for some type of medical reason, then people will need to complete the Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report, which can be found online. Be prepared to document the specifics on your medical condition, any treatment you are undergoing, doctor visits or the results of tests. Read more disability appeal process.
If your application has been rejected for other, non-medical reasons, then applicants need to call their local Social Security Office. Or individuals may dial 1-800-772-1213 for more information.
Receive assistance in filing for disability from federal government regulated advocates. Since about 60% of all applications filed are denied by the social security administration, using an experienced person to help in this process can be very beneficial. In addition, filing an application or resubmitting a denied one can be complicated and take time.
A number of companies provide representatives, which will be either advocates or highly trained lawyers, to help throughout the process. These companies only need to be paid if they are successful in helping you receive SSDI disability or social security compensation. So there is no cost to consumers unless they are successful. Get more details on social security disability advocates and lawyers.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is a federal government funded program for the low income. It can also assist the disabled. TANF will provide financial assistance for basic needs such as shelter, rent, food, and medications. Any financial aid is provided for a defined period of time, usually up to 60 months. Find out more on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families - TANF.
Low interest loans are available to individuals while they are waiting on a final decision from the Social Security Administration on their application. Or the money can be used in the period of time between receiving a monthly SSI disability check and when their bills are owed to a creditor. Emergency funds may be issued by private companies, non-profits or government organizations for paying any number of expenses, including medical costs, food, or housing needs. Read more on loans for the disabled.
Short term or temporary disability benefits are not paid by the federal government or Social Security Administration. That being said, some employers or states may offer support. The fact is that are many organizations as well as private companies that want to help people that are injured at work and that are facing a short term crisis that results from a disability.
Examples include workers’ compensation programs, which may offer medical treatment, wage replacement benefits, medical care, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to workers and even their immediate family members. This is generally offered for those that are injured on the job or have an occupational disease. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office or your State Workers’ Compensation Board is a good resource for information on this or any temporary cash payments.
Government cash grants are provided by various federal and state agencies. Several of them are focused on helping disabled veterans, but there are also resources for children, individuals living in poverty, newborns, and others. Proof of disability, need, and household income will required when applying, but the programs may help pay various bills. Funds may assist with expenses such as for travel, educational needs, utilities, and more. Read financial assistance from grants for the disabled.
It can often take many months to be approved for financial assistance from any disability program. While they wait, many applicants often struggling to keep up with their bills and living expenses since the process takes so long to complete. There are some resources available though when the individual is in a crisis situation. Many non-profits and government agencies provide financial help while waiting on disability, and the support may last until their first SSI payment is issued is issued by the Social Security Administration.
Government or non-profit grants may be able to pay for needed home modifications. This can include any changes that are required in order to adapt living spaces to meet the needs of individuals or families with physical limitations. The improvements will need to allow them to continue to live safely and independently in their current residence.
Local community action agencies will often disburse these grants, and they will process applications from low income households with a disabled member. While examples of what can be paid for will vary, the modifications may be inexpensive and simple projects such as installing cabinet doorknobs with pull handles. Or the home improvements can be more extensive, including widening doorways or installing wheelchair ramps. Read community action agencies.
Designated Housing Vouchers can be used to help pay your rent. The program will assist non-elderly families with a disabled person who would be eligible for section 8 or public housing if occupancy were not restricted to elderly families to lease affordable and safe housing. Another resource is known as Certain Developments Vouchers and this is offered to individuals with a disability. The government will pay a portion of your rent, based on the applicants income levels. Click here.
Mortgage and home loan programs - Referrals can be provided by Disability Resource Centers as well as Housing and Urban Development foreclosure counseling agencies. All of the information on mortgage assistance programs for the disabled will be provided to them for free. Solutions such as principal reduction, grants for buying a home, legal aid to stop a foreclosure, and other programs will be reviewed. Find how to get mortgage help with a disability.
Rebuilding Together is a national organization that is made up of volunteers. The non-profit will provide home repairs and modifications to homeowners in need of help, and most of the work is done at no cost to the client. Volunteers from Rebuilding Together will help with modifications for veterans, people with disabilities, low-income homeowners, senior citizens, military families, and working poor families with young children. Call 1-800-473-4229.
Section 811 vouchers will help arrange and pay for safe and affordable housing or apartments. Provided that the home selected meets the terms of the program, the family that will be residing in the unit will need to pay up to 30% of their income towards the rent. The source of income can even be from government benefits such as SSDI or other resources. The goal is to ensure the disabled member has some financial obligation towards their housing costs. Click housing assistance for disabled.
Work Incentive is when an individual can still receive disability payments even while they are still working either part or full time. There are special rules in place that may allow all people with disabilities and that who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security to work and gain that income from a job. They will also still be able to receive health care from Medicaid or Medicare.
A number of employment services are offered from the Ticket to Work Program. Resources will allow clients to reach their long term employment and career goals. Some of what may be provided includes job referrals, vocational rehabilitation, employment training, and other services. This is a program that is provided to those that are disabled and that range in age from 18 to 65. Applicants also need to be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI / Supplemental Security Income cash benefits in order to apply. Ask your local social service office to apply.
The AbilityOne Program may be able to assist disabled people, including the blind, with finding employment. The non-profit coordinates with a number of different organizations across the country. They work together in order to employ people. Many of the positions offered are involved with providing services to the federal government. (800) 999-5963.
Many social service offices also offer a free Mental Health Treatment Locator service. This is mainly provided from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Many public and private health care insurance and assistance programs can assist people with a mental disability or handicap. Telephone number is 1-877-SAMHSA-7.
Individuals who can't afford to pay their medical bills may qualify for government aid. Some of the programs available include the Hill-Burton act, which administers free or reduced-cost health care for the low income and uninsured. Anyone is eligible for this assistance, whether they are disabled or not, if their income is at or below the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Poverty Guidelines. More on Hill-Burton Act.
Medicare is available to any person with a mental or physical disability. It is not just for the elderly. The federal government offers different forms of financial assistance along with savings on medical and hospital bills. They will pay for some of the costs of care, provide prescription programs to the disabled, offer equipment, pay for caregivers, and other health care costs. Learn more Medicare insurance.
Prescription drug cost savings can be obtained from several different programs. They include the following.
Medicare Center Hotline is available to the disabled or their caregivers. Low income households or those on a fixed income (such as social security disability payments) can explore what type of programs are available to them for their medical and dental needs. All resources are explored, ranging from Medicare to charities, state pharmaceutical programs, government grants, and many more. More on Medicare Center Rights Disabled Hotline.
Free or low cost internet and computers may be provided by some cable companies. Some will offer Internet access at a reduced cost or free to low-income and/or disabled individuals and families. As a couple examples, students that are eligible for the federal government National School Lunch Program may obtain a computer and a low cost internet through Comcast's Internet Essentials program.
Another option is a program known as Connect2Compete. Various non-profit agencies, companies and corporate entities participate. They may offer discounted high speed Internet, free digital literacy training and low-cost computers.
Assistive technology offices are located in most states. If you need access to a computer for a critical task, such as searching for a job or other activities that are essential to the disabled living independently, this government agency may be able to help. There are also non-profits that can offer the disabled or their caregivers access to durable medical equipment.
They may have free lending libraries, hands-on device demonstrations, free or inexpensive previously-owned medical equipment, and other devices or computers for people with disabilities. Some agencies can also arrange volunteers to do installation, such as for mobility ramps. Find programs for assistive technology or durable equipment.
Home Care Programs are for low income adults. This is available in most states, and in some parts of the country it will be part of the Medicaid Waiver service. The resource will allow the disabled individual to get help with certain tasks around the home, such as cooking, laundry, cleaning, shopping, and similar activities. It can either be offered for free or come with minimal fees. Read more Home Care.
Seniors with a disability and that are also low income may be able to receive low cost transportation. Many Aging on Agency offices provide this service in an effort to help the homebound, older adults with disabilities and even their caregivers. The transportation needs to help them access needed services and support, such as a ride to a job interview or doctor appointment. The Eldercare Locator is a tool for both seniors and the disabled to use to find this free transportation. More on help for seniors.
State regulations on utility disconnections may be able to assist disabled customers with keeping their heat as well as electricity on. A number of laws and regulations have been put into place by many states in order to ensure that residents with some form of verified medical condition have additional protections. This can include children, seniors, and those customers with a life threatening condition. Click state utility disconnection laws.
Free rides and transportation, including Paratransit services and those offered by volunteer drivers from charities, will bring the physically or mentally disabled to needed appointments. There are also free transportation programs for those using a wheelchair or low income families on Medicaid. Many different resources are used for providing everything from trips to medical appointments to shopping or even recreational activities. More rides and transportation for the the disabled.
In addition to these national resources, most states also provide some form of assistance to the disabled. These programs are focused on individuals that live just in that state. Disability benefits may be offered to the individual, their family members, care takers, and others who are impacted. In some cases the state will administer the programs directly, and in other cases they may be available from certified non-profit organizations.
The specifics of what is offered will vary by state. However assistance will usually include vocational training, home delivered meals, free or low cost medical care, in home services and more. Organizations may also help people apply for Social Security Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Income (SSI). Some states will also prioritize any financial assistance or grants to the disabled, provided they meet other guidelines such as income limits.
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