Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is a monthly benefit you may qualify for if you have a health condition that prevents you from being able to work. If you have limited income due to your disability, you may qualify for other assistance as well. Rental assistance is available, as well as help with your energy bills through the Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP. You may also qualify for an additional monthly benefit due to low income, called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.
SSDI pays a monthly benefit to those who qualify. Qualifications include meeting SSDI's definition of disability, which is that you're unable to work and unable to train for any new work, and that your condition is expected to last at least one year or be terminal. You also need to have paid a minimum amount into Social Security while working; the minimum is based on your age at disability. If you think you may qualify, call to make an appointment with your local Social Security office to complete an application.
Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, provides a monthly income to low-income households with elderly, disabled or blind persons. To qualify, you need a limited income and few assets, or savings. An individual can have up to $2,000 in assets, as of June 2011; a couple can have up to $3,000. If you qualify for SSI and SSDI, your SSDI is reduced, but your overall benefit is higher. You can apply at your local Social Security office.
HEAP, also known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is an energy assistance program available to any low-income household, regardless of whether your income is through a Social Security retirement benefit, SSDI, SSI or work income. LIHEAP is federally funded but distributed through state and local government offices. The exact programs vary, but they all help bring utility bills up to date so you don't have to go without heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer. Contact your local county assistance office for information specific to your area and to apply.
In addition to HEAP assistance, you should consider applying for a Housing Choice Voucher, formerly known as as Section 8. You apply for vouchers through your local Public Housing Authority. Qualifications vary by locality, but in general they're based on your household's income and size. If you qualify, you can choose any rental property you'd like as long as your voucher is accepted and the Public Housing Authority deems it acceptable. Your voucher is paid directly to the landlord, and you're responsible for any difference in rental cost. Contact your local Public Housing Authority to apply.
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