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What Types of Extra Financial Support Can I Get?

Disability benefits can keep you afloat when an impairment prevents you from working to support yourself and your family. The average wait for a decision on eligibility is between three and four months, but some applicants wait significantly longer. Getting by in the mean time often means seeking out other forms of support.

There are a number of public assistance programs for which you may qualify during your wait for a disability decision. And with some of these programs, you may continue to receive extra help, even once you begin getting disability payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

State Temporary Disability

Some states offer temporary disability benefits that help carry you through until you receive a decision on SSDI and/or SSI. Start by contacting the local or state office of social services. Every state has one. In some places, this agency is called the Department of Family and Social Services.

In other locations, it may be the Department of Health and Welfare, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the Department of Family and Social Services. No matter the name though, most states provide local offices in each county or township.

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)

You may qualify for SNAP or food stamps while waiting for disability approval. SNAP benefits often remain in affect even after you begin getting monthly disability payments too. A social worker at your local or state department of social services can assist you in applying. Many states also offer online application for SNAP.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

TANF is another state-administered assistance program that offers a monthly cash benefit to families that meet financial-need eligibility rules. TANF application may be offered online in your home state, or you can get help with applying from your local social services office.

Other Assistance Programs

Based on your family make-up, financial situation, and other factors, you may qualify for other types of assistance. For example, families with extreme financial-need often meet the guidelines for emergency rent or utility payment assistance. These kinds of programs are usually administered at the city, township, or county level, but the staff at your local social services office can point you in the right direction.

Insurance Coverage and Discounted Medical Care

You may qualify for Medicaid or state health insurance, since these programs have financial-need measurements for eligibility. Many clinics offer services on a sliding scale for patients who meet income thresholds and for those without insurance too. Your regular doctor’s office may have a “need-based” sliding scale as well, so be sure to talk to the staff there about your disability application and your financial concerns. Your doctor can also help you find discount prescriptions and may provide you samples to help cut your costs.

A Word on Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment and disability benefits don’t mix. This is because a disability application is based on the idea that your impairment stops you from working, while unemployment benefits are only available if you are activity seeking a new job. In other words, you cannot get approved for disability if you are on unemployment and vice versa.

Getting Help with Your Social Security Disability Claim

A disability advocate or attorney that understands the eligibility rules and review processes can potentially increase your chances of approval. If your application stalls out during the review stage, a call from an advocate or attorney can usually get things moving again too. Not to mention the assistance an advocate or lawyer can provide if you’re initially denied benefits. He or she can help gather evidence, file an appeal, and represent you before the administrative law judge that reviews your claim.

Comments

I just turned 51 07/11 this year, ive been denied three time by the Admin Judge, I been fighting this since 2012 or 2013, ive been in and out of the hospitals for back pain, Chest discomfort, now I have silent Angina attacks more often, im in high bp meds FINALLY, and for high bp, I have joint pain in both hips, both hands, and now my left knee is always swollen! I cant walk no further than 10 feet because my knee cramps and locks up. I was at St Joseph Hospital bout a month ago, i told them to fax my information to a social security advocate to my primary dr who is at the center for health and wellness here in Wichita Ks. My finger cramp up more too, degeneration joint decease, major depression disorder, had a blood transfusion in 2005 gave me 3 units of blood to save my life after i hsd my baby by c section and a hysterectomy. Was in a comma for about 1week. Why wont anyone help me??????

Hi Sharon,
Have you considered speaking with a disability advocate or attorney? They can seriously help you with your claim, especially if you have been denied previously. Sometimes, your best bet is to restart your claim.

My name is Melissa, 29years old and I have epilepsy. I have an advocate from GAR DISABILITY and they are absolutely no help.. 2 1/2 years now and nothing.. my case manger changed 5 times.. and I was denied already 2-3 times.. I still have uncontrollable seizures 3-4 times a week.. my speech is very slured more so then about a year ago. being that the price of everyday essentials and living are far from free, I took a risk and found employment at a restaurant as a server.. They are fully aware of my disability, but im always leaving home eary due to having my jaw lock up, following a seizure..... any advice what to do from here???

Hi Mellissa,
I'm sorry to hear that! I suppose it's best to not give up, you may be approved. It may be a good idea to look into temporary disability programs that your state may have.

Get a lawyer why are you waiting. The government always denies claims. It a matter of procedure.

You have to fight for your rights!

Hi Dan,
It's true! Over 70% of applications are denied the first time they are reviewed.

Invaluable commentary , I loved the analysis ! Does someone know if my business can obtain a template document to use ?

Hi Ervina,
You may want to contact the office that uses the document itself, they may be able to provide you with a template.

I been denies three time by them .. They say I can work in fast-food joint or lick stamps . I was told in 2014 that I copd that lungs disease well can't walk no further then 15 feet with out been out of breath trying to get air .. My sister try to help with my medicine every month .. Sometime I be out ofdays.. They don't care about us .. They just care about there Beach houses..

All you have to do, since you have went through all this. Is get you a lawyer and plead depressed because you are after all this. I am so sorry that you have been through all this.Get you a good lawyer and paralegals, And talk to God and Jesus. God bless you.

Hey brother I was denied 2 times took me 3 years finally I got a lawyer out of the phone book and boom within 2 weeks I was receiving benefits and two years backpack you got to get a lawyer

Hi John,
Thanks for sharing that! It's a good idea to contact a disability advocate or attorney if you're seeking benefits.

I am countering the same problem and just keep getting shuffle back and forth from one government agency to another, it seems that the government is both lazy and does not care at all!

Hi Ted,

Unfortunately it can be a long process, hang in there.

-Eric

No Ted, not a long process. Get a lawyer. 3-5 years no lawyer, six months or sooner with one. You pay them from back benefits, you lose nothing. I'm not pro lawyer for most things but this time its well worth it...

Hi Diana,
If you are unable to work due to a medical or psychological condition, you may be able to receive disability benefits based on that fact.

This is the worst part of not being able to work and not being able to collect unemployment. You feel completely out of control and they wonder why depression and suicide are such a giant problem in our society. There needs to be a transitional housing program for people waiting for SSDI to be approved. I am thinking of starting a non profit to address this giant problem, especially for single mothers who have nowhere to go. I hope you are able to stay with family during this difficult time and that you can get some mental health support to keep you strong. Things will get better, trust me. They did for me and I was sleeping in my car. It doesn't hurt to pray during this time, as I did and I can tell you that He presented himself to me directly when I cried out for His help. Just sayin'!! All the best to you!

There really needs to be a safety net for us waiting for approval.. its hard to believe a program has not this implemented for this problem I'm a single mother waiting now for over a year and a half I don't know what is going to happened to us and I am scared

Hi Ann, I just happen to be a single mother of two young girls looking into applying FINALLY for SSDI benefits. My welfare exhausted a long time ago. I am from PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder and anxiety and remember getting angry when my social worker at DSHS suggested I look into applying years ago. Its been a personal struggle for me to accept that I have these conditions and they are "that bad". But the fact is simple. I have had a pattern for a long time of starting and stopping. What I mean is this, every other year I become completely "stuck" and don't work, don't want to take care of any of lifes responsibilities. I don't want to leave the house and it becomes very difficult to be happy. If I did not have the luck of winning the housing lottery 10 years ago, I'm sure I would have been on the streets a long time ago. Ive managed to stay afloat until recently and because I called the city on my "slumlord", she retaliated with threats of eviction and I am afraid of what would happen if I lost my voucher. Where would we go? With the impairment I have, it would only get worse with lifes stressors. I become unable to find the motivation necessary to cook, clean and worst of all, concentrate and remember important dates, times and information. I become irritable too which is hell for my children.

I've thought for a long time that there are places the system is failing us. For example, how easy it is for a woman with children to find housing in comparison to men?? How many places do we have out there to help the entire family unit, not just SINGLE women and children? Why isn't our system working harder to unit families instead of separate them? Or maybe our need for places women can go for treatment and mental health groups when she finds herself suffering from drug addiction but is too afraid to come forward and ask for help because of her realistic fear of CPS being called on her? I wish that Seattle Housing Authority had more advocates that interacted with the clients, most of whom have mental or physical handicaps. If your landlord is in breach of contract and my housing authority stops payment to the slumlord because of "breach of contract", why then is it that they direct me to continue paying my rent if the slumlord is in breach of contract with ME ALSO? Where are the people from the housing authority to reach out to me and help me? Facing homelessness is always a possibility for me, and not working has made finding a new place and cleaning up this old one very, very difficult.

I hope that at the end of the day, I can join up with you to start that nonprofit, Ann. My experiences will not be in vain!

Hi Cayenne,
Thanks for sharing your story! It's true that even if you don't think your disability is "that bad" that it may be a good idea to apply for disability if you're unable to work because of your condition.

Where I live,the only way to get rental assistance is to have children.For those of us without small kids,there isn't any help available. I was thrilled to find out I'd been approved for my ssdi,but wouldn't receive payments until DEC 2016..I'll be homeless by then,and as I'm dependent on oxygen to live,its a death sentence.but the point I'm making is there are many programs available for those with children,contact your social service office for assistance.

Amen! To the brother that took it to the Lord by praying. If you really believe in Him he WILL hear your prayers. God bless you and keep telling people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Prayers for all who are seeking SSDI and really need it. I have severe osteo arthritis to the point of deformity in my ankle and someone told me to apply for SSDI and I called a lawyer first and they took care of everything. I got a check 4 months later and I was 53 years old. Please get an attorney. If they take your case you will get your SSDI. They wouldn't take on a case unless they knew they'd win. You don't pay,it comes out of your back pay. God bless.

My boyfriend fell from a 40 roof about 8 years ago. After two neck surgeries with metal holding his spine together, ankle and hip surgery, and a long recovery, he decided to try to work again. Now years later, his doctor is telling him if he keeps going at this rate, he will not live 10 more years. So he is on a medical leave of absence from work and his doctor won't release him, and has no income, will not have insurance in a couple of months, while waiting on Disability to make a decision. What are people supposed to do while they wait? Not go to doctor, and starve? It just appalls me to no end. He hasn't been denied yet, but they are saying it could be 2 months before he hears from the SSI. I just don't understand this. Anyone with any insight will be greatly appreciated!

Hi Joye,
Your boyfriend may qualify for Medicaid based on his income, it may be a good idea to contact your state's Medicaid office.

My cousin, who just received an amputation, was on social security, after turning 65. It is a minimal amount of about 800.00 a month, which she barely lives on. NOW, however, her circumstance has changed & she is rendered DISABLED. Should she apply for SSDI or even SSI & will it be more than she currently gets ? She is frightened & doesnt know where to turn from this point. She lives alone w/ no family near by. I am in FL & she is in NY. How can I get help & info for her ?

The thing is that if she is already receiving Social Security benefits she can't apply for Disability or S.S.I. anyway. Her amount for Disability would not be more anyway. If a person is on S.S.D or S.S.I. or combination of the two. When they turn 65 it rolls over to regular Social Security benefits. My total with Disability and S.S.I combined is $753 (age 57).

Hi Phillip,
Thanks for sharing!
It's true, you may qualify for SSDI and SSI, however you may only be eligible for SSI if you SSDI benefit is under the federal benefit limit for SSI benefits.

I've been unable to work since August 2015 after motorcycle accident that fractured left scalpula, right pelvis, right hip, broke 8 ribs, collaspsed lung , COPD, C2-3, C3-4, C4-5, C5-6, C6-7, bulging and herniated discs, subarachnoid hemorrhage, ac joint separation, fracture T-3, I have had medio blocs, Rf Ablatment, eperderals, persistant headaches, depression, anxiety, bulging and facet hypertrophy L3-4 ,L4-5, stenosis in all discs that now require pain management now, I have a Lawyer and I wastold that it couldbeup to another 12 to 18 months before my hearing , I have been denied twice and can't understand such a long wait. Loss of memory , unsteady , breathing problems , headaches persist. I'm 58 confused that after 40 years of work that I will be bankrupted before any hearing.... Depressed to the max

Hi Joel,
I'm sorry to hear about that! Unfortunately, hearings generally take 17 months on average. Also, it may be a good idea to contact your representation and the SSA regarding the fact that you will be bankrupt, as you may be eligible for assistance during this time.

I'm new to all of this but I get $1228 from ssd will I be able to get food stamps and more cash aid from welfare. And where do I go to get help with housing because I am homeless