Best Financial Resources for People with Disabilities
Living with a disability is hard in countless ways. Often, those who are disabled face economic insecurity due to an inability to work and expensive medical bills. There are financial assistance options available, though. Use this guide to know your options.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Most commonly known as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a program that some people with disabilities may qualify for. SNAP helps people buy food so that they can have what they need. Each state has different requirements and application processes, so find your state on the USDA.gov site to understand what you qualify for.
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
SSDI is a federal program that helps people who qualify with basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. This is money that is deposited into your bank account and can be used by people with disabilities. SSDI is calculated based on the lifetime average of your earnings that were covered by Social Security. The online benefits calculator will estimate what you could qualify for and the SSDI eligibility requirements can be found here.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
The TANF program is lesser-known than some other assistance programs, but it provides financial help to families. It provides assistance for child care, job prep, and work-related expenses. Disability isn’t covered under this program, but it does cover those who are un- or underemployed and have low income.
Medicaid (not to be confused with Medicare) is a federal program that provides low-cost or free medical benefits to people with disabilities (there are non-disabled people who qualify, as well). Applying for Medicaid can be done through the state or through an application on the open marketplace. To receive Medicaid, you must apply in the state where you currently reside.
Federal Disability Retirement Benefits
If you were a federal worker for at least 18 months, you may qualify for federal disability retirement. There are requirements to qualify for the benefits and the full list can be found through the Disability Retirement site. As with most federal benefits, there is a lengthy application process, including complete documentation of your medical condition. The agency will work hard to prove that you have exhausted all other options. This will be a slow process, but keep trying if you do qualify.
Student Loan Forgiveness
People with disabilities may qualify for Total and Permanent Disability Discharge and have their federal student loans discharged. If you can provide documentation that you are totally and permanently disabled (from either the VA, Social Security Administration, or your doctor), you can qualify. More info about this program and how to apply can be found at the Disability Discharge website.