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Disability benefit programs Pennsylvania.

Disabled people in Pennsylvania can get help from grant money and social services that are administered by the Department of Public Welfare as well as other agencies. A number of programs are available across the state and that can help with providing care, financial assistance and other benefits, and they are listed below.

The physially and/or mentally can get free items or grants to pay their bills, transportation and other resources. Examples include information on personal care and assisted living homes, Medical Assistance, cash compensation and more. These financial as well as material resources are provided to individuals in addition to the numerous other non-profit programs and public assistance services that are available across Pennsylvania.

Home care resources in Pennsylvania

Attendant care program is a home, transportation and community-based assistance for individuals with physical disabilities. The applicant needs to be capable of managing their own legal affairs, both selecting and supervising an attendant care worker, and they also need to be able to oversee their own personal financial affairs. The goal is for disabled Pennsylvanians to be able to continue to live in or near their homes or family members. Learn more on transportation programs for the disabled.

The COMMCARE Waiver is a home program for the disabled that are impacted by a medically determinable diagnosis of having a traumatic brain injury. A number of benefits are made available to them by the Department of Public Welfare.

Current nursing home residents who need help to move back into their own home can get assistance as well. Pennsylvania provides a Nursing Home Transition program.

Autism resources have been put into place by the Bureau of Autism Services. They partner with the Department of Public Welfare in an effort to enhance the independence and the quality of life of Pennsylvanians with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The state will also try to support their immediate family members and their caregivers. 1-866-539-7689.




Early intervention services are available to help children grow and develop in unique ways. So those children with disabilities or some form of developmental delays are the targets of this resource. Most of this support is for families with children up to age 5. The Department of Public Welfare program uses parents, service practitioners, and others to help them learn and grow. Children can receive benefits such as physical development, including vision and hearing, there may be free eye exams near you, cognitive skills, social, emotional, and Adaptive development.

Integrated Children's Services can help children, including the disabled, from the age of birth to 21 years. It offers long-term prevention, early intervention, medications or discount programs (such as Blink Health) and other social services. The goal is to support family stability, child safety, and overall healthy child development.

Intellectual Disabilities Services will try to provide assistance in the clients home and local community. Services provided may include community residential and day support services. Part of this is also home care from PACE, a federal government benefit offered in Pennsylvania. More on PACE HOME care financial aid.

Some of the community residential options include, but are not limited to, single apartments, group homes with a roommate, or even a formal family living setting. Several services, such as training and recreation and supported employment are provided to people who live in residential homes.

A number of other support systems are available to families caring for a adult sibling or child with an intellectual disability. Services provided in these cases include mobility training, case management, adult day care, employment training and other opportunities. Medications may be offered for the disabled with children as well. There are resources such as Blink Health prescription discounts. This program is run locally through county of Pennsylvania Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities (MH/ID) program offices.

The disabled can get free items as well, including CPAP machines, medical equipment, personal care items, scooters and more. Most of the free stuff is around medical, including breathing machines or items such as wheelchairs. Find more details on free CPAP machine assistance.





Financial assistance for the disabled in Pennsylvania

Cash assistance is available to people cannot work because of a disability. If a resident falls into this category then they may be able to receive grants, benefits or other financial aid. There are four main sources of funds for those with a disability. They include State Blind Pension Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Diversion Program, and also the Pennsylvania Refugee Cash Assistance.

Heating and utility bill assistance may be an option from LIHEAP, or the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This government resource helps disabled residents that come from low-income families pay their winter heating and gas bills. A cash grant will be sent directly to your utility company to help pay your bill. Also disabled residents can apply for the LIHEAP crisis grant.

The Pennsylvania Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) can help those in danger of eviction, people way behind on their rent, or the currently homeless. Staff will try to help people avoid homeless. If you need a place to live, try this program in order to get assistance in locating and paying for a new home or apartment.

This form of eviction help is located in each and every county. A priority is often given to low income disabled families living on SSI or those in poverty. Not only may a grant be given to them for paying their rent or a deposit, but many other types of financial help are provided to people with a disability as part of the Pennsylvania homeless prevention programs. This ranges from legal aid to transitional housing and subsidies.

Case management is available from the Department of Public Welfare. This will help a client as they will have an opportunity to work with a specialist or social worker. Receive help in identifying your housing needs and the root cause for your homelessness or eviction. The goal of Case Management is to provide people the skills, benefits and tools to prevent future homelessness. Workshops and classes include life skills, budgeting, job preparation, home management and referrals to rehabilitation.

Mental Health services are offered through local Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MH/MR) offices that operate in most counties. The local office can provide referrals. Staff can help determine eligibility for service funding, makes referrals to appropriate programs, assesses the need for treatment or other services, and apply for treatment.

Disabled in Pennsylvania, that go to the hospital in an emergency, can look for ambulance assistance programs. The government may offer support, including Medicaid or Medicare. There may also be payment plan options, SSI payments to cover bills or ambulance (emergency transportation arrears), and other costs. Read more on getting help paying for an ambulance.

Emergency shelters are available for the disabled, and really anyone, that is currently homeless. Others that use the sites include people without a permanent residence or those that are a victim of domestic violence. People who use the shelter are also provided case management, per above.

Rental assistance may be available for those that are in danger of being evicted from their current home or apartment. Your local county or the Department of Public Welfare may be able to assist you with payments for partial mortgage, rent, security deposits and utility bills. In addition, a case manager will work with your landlord to meditate a solution. Or get help in finding a more affordable apartment that meet the disabled person‘s needs and condition.







Bridge, or transitional housing, will help people move from being homeless into permanent housing. When possible, this Pennsylvania benefit will allow clients to stay in an apartment for up to 18 months. The individual needs to pay a portion of the rent on their own and make a small co-pay for their costs.

There are several other HUD supported housing programs for the disabled too. Pennsylvania participates in section 811 along with other federal government funded service. Each is focused on ensuring that some form of safe and affordable home is not only available, but that is can be paid for. Read more on housing for people with disabilities.

Food vouchers and assistance is offered by SNAP / Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Government issued benefits are available to low income and qualified disabled residents. The funds and vouchers issued can help them buy groceries and food. It will help households in Pennsylvania obtain more nutritious diets by increasing their purchasing power at supermarkets and local grocery stores.

The Aids Waiver is a community-based program for residents 21 years of age or older. It can help with a number of needs of those impacted. Assistance may also be offered for their immediate family members. The patient needs to have AIDS or symptomatic HIV Disease.

Non-profit and public disability resources in Pennsylvania

The Department of Public Welfare, Office of Development Programs can be reached at 1-888-565-9435. Or call your local county assistance office or state offices below. Another useful number for in home care and related services is the Long-Term Living Helpline. Dial 1-866-286-3636. Or a list of government agencies are below. There may be grants, cash aid, medical care, and many other resources. Both short as well as long term disabled, and those with mental or physical needs, can get help.

Pennsylvania Department of Aging
555 Walnut Street, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Telephone number is (717) 783-1550
While most of the assistance provided from the site is for seniors and the elderly, they may offer information or benefits for the disabled as well. Examples of resources may include home health care, support services such as housekeeping, respite/caregiver, transportation and more. Also get information about home delivered meals and nursing facilities.

Agency Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Bureau of Family Health, also known as Special Kids Network (SKN)
Health and Welfare Building, 7th Floor East Wing
625 Forster Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
The goal of SKN is to improve access to services, provide information on needed services, and promote the improvement or development of local services for children with special health care needs and their families. The SKN System of Care program addresses the delivery and availability of services in local communities, and the SKN Information and Referral service helps link individuals to resources and programs specific to their needs.





Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program
Health and Welfare Building, 8th Floor West
625 Forster Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Call (717) 787-5876

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)

  • Harrisburg Office, 2 North Second Street, Suite 100, Harrisburg, PA 17101, (717) 364-1733
  • Philadelphia Office, 1617 JFK Boulevard, Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19103, (215) 557-7112
  • Or in other parts of the state, dial (888) 745-2357.

Case managers from this office focus on helping the disabled find a job, prepare for it, and start on that employment path. Some of the services offered, which will vary by office, including the following. Clients can receive exams and tests as part of a vocational evaluation. This will help determine what their interests, skills, ability, and possible career path should be. It will lead to possible placement with a local company. Or find work at home jobs for the disabled.

Individuals can receive equipment and tools they need in order to be successful at their job. This may be wheelchairs, automobile hand controls, and other types of technology. Whatever supplies they need can be provided by OVR.

An extensive amount of training or education can be provided in an effort to prepare them for that job. This can include vocation/technical, academic, college, on-the-job, independent living skills, and more. Other benefits offered can include transportation, van or car modifications including special driving devices or lifting devices, hearing aids, and support from a case managers.

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Community Services Program for Persons with Physical Disabilities (CSPPPD)
Mailing address is P.O. Box 2675
Harrisburg PA 17105
Phone: 1-800-757-5042
For those with a severe disability that are impacted by lack of mobility, communication, or other impairments, they may receive help. CSPPPD benefits can include assistive technology and medical equipment, therapy, and in depth counseling. Staff will offer daily living and community services. Respite and support for family members and caregivers is provided too.

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Developmental Programs (ODP)
Health and Welfare Building, 4th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17105
(717) 787-1848
Residents with developmental disabilities and their families can receive assistance. They can get help in making choices about living, working and other social activities. The goal is to help them to live and participate fully in their communities.

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS)
P.O. Box 2675
Harrisburg, PA 17105
(717) 787-6443
Addresses behavioral health issues.

The Arc of Philadelphia
Location 2350 West Westmoreland Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140
Telephone number - (215) 229-4550

Autism Society of the Lehigh Valley
P.O. Box 90448
Allentown PA 18109
(610) 778-9212





Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, Inc.
950 Walnut Bottom Road, Suite 15-229
Carlisle, PA 17015
Toll-free (866) 635-7097

Keystone Blind Association
Address: 1230 Stambaugh Avenue
Sharon, PA 16146
(724) 347-5501

Keystone Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America
Main address: 1113 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
Toll-free (800) 775-9323

Keystone Emergency Management Association
Main address - 601 Westtown Road, Suite 12 Box 2747
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone number - (610) 344-5000

Learning Disabilities Association of Pennsylvania
4751 Lindle Road, Suite 114
Harrisburg, PA 17111
Toll-free (888) 775-3272

Liberty Resources, Inc.
714 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Toll-free (888) 634-2155

Mental Health/Mental Retardation Program Administrators Association of Pennsylvania
Main address: 17 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 232-7554

National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Delaware Valley Chapter
1 Reed Street, Suite 200
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Call the agency at (215) 271-1500

Overbrook School for the Blind
6333 Malvern Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19151
Dial (215) 877-0313

Pennsylvania Council of the Blind
Location - 931 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102
Toll-free (877) 617-7407

Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman, Residents (PEER) Project
555 Walnut Street, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Main phone - (717) 783-8975

Pennsylvania Department of Education
Address: 333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126
(717) 783-6788

Pennsylvania Department of Health - Can direct the disabled to several services, including medical care, prescriptions, and family health. The main agencies are below.

  • Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, 625 Forster Street, Room 606, Harrisburg, PA 17120, (717) 787-8740
  • Division of Child and Adult Services, Bureau of Family Health, Traumatic Brain Injury Lead Agency, P.O. Box 90, 7th Floor East, Harrisburg, PA 17108, Call (717) 783-5436 for information on programs.
  • Health and Welfare Building, 8th Floor West, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120, 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Philadelphia Office
Office address is 1617 JFK Boulevard
Suite 800 Philadelphia, PA 19103
Toll-free (888) 745-2357

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Bureau of Supports for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Health and Welfare Building, 4th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17105
(717) 787-1848

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare - Provides government assistance, referrals, and other support from several centers in the state. See above for more information as well. Much of this is grants for the mentally and/or physically disabled, including SSI or loan programs.

  • Governor’s Cabinet and Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, P.O. Box 2575, Harrisburg, PA 17105, Toll-free number is (866) 229-9337
  • Office of Medical Assistance Programs, Health and Welfare Building, Room 515, P.O. Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17105, (717) 787-1870

Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council
Address: 8500 Brooktree Road, Suite 100
Wexford, PA 15090
Main number - (724) 933-1655

The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
100 West School House Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19144
(215) 951-4700

Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf, Inc.
3028 West Liberty Street
Allentown, PA 18104
(610) 435-6123

Spina Bifida Association of Delaware Valley
Address: 2950 Potshop Road, P.O. Box 859
Worcester, PA 19490
Toll-free number is (800) 223-0222





Temple University, Institute on Disabilities
1755 North 13th Street
Student Center, Room 411S
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 204-1356

United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia and Vicinity
Address: 102 East Mermaid Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Main number: (215) 242-4200

Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children
201 North Bellefield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Call (412) 621-0100 for information.

Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
Location - 300 East Swissvale Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
Telephone number is (800) 624-3323

By Jon McNamara

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