Some people who cannot work due to a disability get financial assistance from Social Security or from Veterans Disability. They can receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) only if they worked long enough before becoming disabled and paid Social Security taxes. The amount they receive from SSDI is based on how much they earned in the past. People can receive Veterans Disability only if they were active members of the military and became disabled during wartime.
Medicare covers many healthcare expenses and provides health insurance for many elderly and some disabled people. People who have qualified for SSDI for two years receive Medicare. Those who receive Veterans Disability also receive Medicare if they meet the criteria.
SSDI recipients may receive Medicare and disabled veterans may receive some healthcare services through the Veterans Administration. However, SSDI and the the Veterans Administration do not cover all healthcare expenses. People on disability, who have many medical expenses but cannot pay for all the care they need, may qualify for Medicaid. The program provides health insurance for low-income people, including the disabled and elderly. Some people can receive Medicaid and Medicare if they meet the criteria for both programs.
Food stamps help low-income people afford groceries. Not everyone on SSDI or Veterans Disability qualifies for food stamps; the amount of disability pay they receive determines eligibility. Those who qualify can purchase a variety of food items from the grocery store of their choice. They also can purchase plants or seeds if they want to grow their own food.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
The Home Energy Assistance Program provides low-income people assistance with winter utility bills, including gas and electric heating. Many people on disability qualify. The amount they receive is based on their family size and household income.
Local agencies often provide programs that help people in need, including those on SSDI and Veterans Disability. Telephone companies often offer discounts for disabled customers. Organizations like Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and community-action agencies offer assistance with things like utility bills, rent payments, necessary home repairs and finding warm winter clothing. Churches and other organizations sponsor food pantries, which sometimes offer, along with food, household products like cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, hygiene items and paper products. These services are available to many people on disability. Because programs vary from area to area, contact your local United Way nearest you to find out what services are available near you.