Government Assistance for Disabilities


People who are disabled often cannot work enough to support themselves. Federal and state governments provide a safety net for disabled people with numerous programs to ensure they have the necessities. Without these programs and services, many disabled people would go without basics such as food, housing and medical care.

Social Security Disability Insurance

The Social Security Administration provides monthly income for people who fit the definition of disability under Social Security. The SSA considers a person disabled if she can no longer work due to an injury or illness and the condition will last at least one year or result in death. To qualify, you must have worked between three and 10 years, depending on your age, before becoming disabled. You must also have been disabled for at least five months before applying. Benefits begin approximately one month after a successful application. You can appeal a denial within 60 days.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income gives disabled people additional monthly income, even if they are already receiving SSDI. The SSA reserves SSI payments for people who live in a low-income household. Although the SSA also has a limit on the amount of assets a recipient can have, it does not count your primary residence or vehicle. People who live in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility are not eligible for SSI payments. There are no work requirements to qualify for SSI.

Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare is a federal health insurance program run by the federal government. Medicaid is a similar government-run health plan but it is jointly funded and administered by the federal government and each state. Both programs cover medical expenses related to disabilities including hospital stays, doctor's visits, physical therapy and prescriptions. Disabled people who receive SSI automatically qualify for Medicaid. You may receive both Medicare and Medicaid at the same time and use them to cover each other's costs, such as co-pays and deductibles.

State Supplemental Programs

Some states offer benefits to people who are disabled and receiving SSDI and SSI. These additional benefits can include monthly income, assistance with energy bills, transportation to doctor's visits, medically necessary moving expenses and financial assistance with burial and other expenses.

Housing Assistance

The federal government offers disabled people a number of programs to assist with housing costs. This includes subsidized rent, help finding appropriate housing and assistance with making a home more accessible.

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