Firstly you need to go the Social Security Administration page. You can apply online, or have the forms sent to your home.
Social Security Benefits (SSI)
As far as Social Security benefits, SSI is a set disability amount which is awarded for those who have not worked enough years or haven’t paid enough social security tax into the system. For example, the maximum amount right now is $750/monthly. SSDI benefits are disability benefits awarded based on wages over the years and paid into Social Security. You could range anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars monthly. Both benefits are issued through the social security administration.
You need to be deemed disabled for an expected period of at least 12 months. For disability, benefits, especially SSI, most applicants are denied the first time. That’s typically when one obtains a lawyer to handle the appeal. It just seems to be common practice. It can take months to finally get approved. Obviously depending on the level of severity, but it can take anywhere from 6 months to a little over a year.
As far as medical coverage, there are programs through public welfare and types or medical coverage available associated specifically with disability. One is directly related to SSI recipients, one is disability clients with no income/awaiting benefits, there is one for those who work but fall under certain income limits, one for those receiving SSDI who fall under certain income limits, and for those who receive SSDI and receive Medicare part B through social security – if they make too much to qualify for the welfare medicare, there’s another income limit to see if welfare will at least pay their Medicare B monthly premium amount, so they would at least have that premium amount back in their pockets in the SSDI check. All of those types of medical are applied for through Dept. Of Human Services /formerly Dept. Of Public welfare.
If anyone in the US is looking for cash assistance while awaiting disability, they can also apply through Dept Human Services. For example, the guidelines to qualify for cash assistance benefits is that you have to have care/control of a minor child. So a parent/parents with custody. The amounts are very low though, right now, if a parent of 2 applies for cash assistance, and has zero income, the maximum grant amount monthly for that 3 person household is only $403. Better than nothing but clearly doesn’t touch the bills. There are job search requirements with this program. But if you are disabled, you have a form completed by your physician and are waived from those requirements. We also have what is called a DAP- Disability Advocate Program, and they can help individuals seeking SSI throughout the process.
Each state has different programs to help the disabled offset costs.
Some states have fuel assistance. Every year , a household gets a certain amount of money paid to their heat supplier for heating through the winter.
Most disabled people , if qualified can get SNAP, which is the food stamp program.
If you’ve got young children under the age of 5 , there is the WIC program which delivers food to low income mothers.
If you are disabled, and get SSDI, your children get a small disability check also. That lasts until they are 18, or have graduated from high school.
Most states have food banks, if you need food please use them.
Churches also have programs for food, the elderly, and the disabled. Ask your pastor for any information or programs that could help your family.
Disability Benefit Centre
Information kindly collated and presented by Margot Miller and Melissa Rodriguez
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All this information is now available at www.myelopathy.org/disability-benefit-advice-usa.html