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How to Make Ends Meet on Social Security Disability Benefits

When living on Social Security Disability, making ends meet can be a challenge, to say the least. While your Social Security Disability benefits are intended to help you cover your expenses, the amount you receive does not always add up in the real world, and many people find themselves struggling to pay bills and cover living expenses. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to alleviate some of the financial burden and make your Social Security Disability benefits stretch further. In some cases, your family members may be eligible for auxiliary benefits. If you've been having trouble making your Social Security Disability payments cover your monthly living expenses, try some of the following tips and suggestions.

Apply for Additional Assistance

If you are really having a hard time financially, you may want to consider applying for additional benefits in addition to the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits you are already receiving. Benefits such as food stamps, Supplemental Security Income and medical assistance can provide you with additional resources during the month. It is important to note, however, that these benefits are based on income limitations and need. If your household income exceeds the limits established, you will not qualify for these additional benefits.

Start Clipping Coupons

When most people discuss tips to make Social Security Disability benefits stretch further, they discuss things like budget and low-income housing. Coupons, however, are a wonderful way to reduce expenses without sacrificing quality of life. People who use coupons on a regular basis can cut their grocery expenses by fifty dollars a week or more. Shop the sales at your local grocery stores and combine the sales prices with coupons. You'll be surprised to see that you may actually be able to cut your grocery bills in half.

Look Into Energy Assistance

If you qualify for SSI and food stamps, you will likely qualify for energy assistance as well. Energy assistance isn't automatically given out to those who qualify for it. It is usually provided as a once-a-year benefit that will help defray your annual energy costs. The exact amount of your benefit will be determined by your total energy bills, where you live, and how much income you have. Contact your energy provider and let them know you are on Social Security Disability and that you would like to find out what energy assistance programs are available in your area.

Additional Income Sources

Many people assume that they cannot earn any income when receiving Social Security Disability payments. This is not necessarily the case. Recipients of Social Security Disability benefits can receive income as long as it does not exceed $720 per month. If you can manage it, try making extra income from home. You can sell items on eBay or perform work for family and friends. Even babysitting for a few hours a week can help you make a few extra dollars and those dollars can add up to help you cover some of the expenses that Social Security Disability just isn't covering.

Look for Income-Based Housing

Housing expenses can take a big chunk out of your monthly Social Security Disability benefits. If you are struggling to make ends meet, you may want to look into apartments that charge rent payments based on your monthly Social Security Disability income. Some apartments cater to elderly and individuals with disabling conditions. The exact amount you pay for a rental in these places will depend on what your income is, but it will likely be lower than what you would pay if you were paying market rates.

Ask Your Doctor for Samples

Many people who are on Social Security Disability have significant medication expenses. Oftentimes these expenses can be offset by asking your doctor for medication samples when they are available. If you explain your situation to your doctor and ask if samples are available, they may be willing to help you if they have samples of the medications that you need.

School Meal Programs

If you have children who attend school, call the school office to see if your school district offers a free or reduced meal program. Some schools will provide free breakfasts and lunches to students if parents are struggling financially. Ask the school what the requirements are and how you can apply to enroll your children in this program.

Financial difficulties can be a humbling experience, but it is nothing to be ashamed of. Keep the above advice in mind and don't be afraid to ask for help where help is available. With a little planning and a few money-saving strategies, you can make your monthly Social Security Disability payment stretch further, allowing you to live more comfortably and without the unneeded financial stress.


All the avenues that any desperate person on SSDI would have done allready or tried, what next??? No answer...? And SS has reduced my money to cover medical by $126...bottom line it just sucks.Then to take the knocks from the world.... and u feel helpless and angry as hell. I've been short sided by my primary medical doctor, and possible hippa law violations, verbally abused by 70 plus yr old heart doctor on the table....I wanted to get up and kick his ass!! My family has screwed me.... I became dead weight to them I guess.... but to sustain a eviction at 57, I do not need this, all because I was secondary to my niece and she wasn't paying bills, I had moved out for 9 months, move back in May 2016, and we're out on street by early July. 2016.... Had to. Scramble with no help, no money, and was blessed by a prior customer from my Tile career.. got help!! But now 6 months into new living sitchy.....I'm barely hanging on and went from building my credit with credit cards and payments on time, to letting all cards go, Verizon after. 12 yrs to thrashing my credit even more....what the hell am I suppose to do here???? My ankles and feet are swelling, edema, knumbness, circulation issues, and varicose veins are coming....I'm scared about this and need to deal with this asap... oh but wait!!..... friends, my son, the pressures of world are all expressing or pointing towards work!! I have to go to work. I still have a rt knee that is shot to replace and a rt big toe that has degenerative joint disease... I can barely walk, in pain, have no meds anymore... doctor and her assistants cut me back so far and world was making such a push on no oxys, hydros cause people are dying all over country...not my fault!! I'm in need, till this mission is complete, it's my time for this now.....nope..then this eviction happened... but all this crap and more just trying to rebuild myself, having people screw and abuse me... and trying budget with nothing!! And feed a 18 pd cat, deflee monthly, he needs his shots and that is a way extra....I'm looking for answers and online just get confused, frustrated and no straight answers.... and I have never known how to ask for help!! This all since March 2013!!
are around me is telling me I need to go back to work,

As to being on SSDI and the $126 per month for medicaid...Can you do an internet search cause I found an assistance form online that i got approved for that medicare monthly fee paid for me and no longer comes out of my check. They also picked up my Medicare part D monthly fee so I have prescription coverage. I still have deductibles which are hard, but that extra medical coverage is important to have. I wish I could remember the site, but just search for help paying medicare premiums is so helpful.

i cannot begin to tell any of you what being on ssd and not being able to live in my own place has done to me. i earn 867 and get some food and this was from my working. i get all medical, extra help, but still cannot afford an apartment. i go from renting room to room, no stability, and this goes on and on since i was hit 14 years ago in a car accident by a drunk driver. each year i thought it would get better; that $2.00 raise this year really put me over the top. the depression and anxiety of being told that trump might be decreasing the social security amount makes me want to get out and get a gun. my life has no hope in it because even my family has left me because every once in awhile i needed help. families are not what they used to be. my son complained every month for giving me 200 and they told me it was making it harder to purchase that $63k land they wanted, that extra fun vehicle, etc.......... never mind all the money i gave him when young. they make you feel so bad for asking.

Call medicare and tell them you want to apply for "extra help" it's a program through Medicaid. I also have it, so great because I don't pay more than $20 a month Medicare complete plan that includes prescriptions and you have to pay a co-pay 4 doctors visit. Good luck and God bless you

Hi Bay,
Thanks for sharing that! It's true, if you receive Medicare you may be eligible for extra help with prescriptions and premiums.

Jeff you just told my exact same story except I'm a heart and cancer patient,don't know what's coming next ,only thing different is the home I lived in was flooded by Hurricane Matthew and we were leaving that night to go somewhere else ...for two blocks from home and ran into a place where the road had wash out and totaled my truck ,broke my neck,cut up glass all over my wife busted up both knees hurt her head and glass..taken to hospital but power was out so they couldn't X-ray or anything ,sent use on our way after an hour and told us to go to our own doctor had to sign some discharge papers ,well they sent use a bill for $1860.00 .....they didn't do anything! Got a shot and cardio gram . Now after 5 months with my sister in law they told me and my dog Bessie have to go we were cramping their space in a three bedroom home but her sister could stay wife so we had to move 70 miles away to stay with my sister .yea this life can suck some times ,you get 1000.00 to live on your supposed to live your life on it insurance ,food,housing,clothes,utilities,etc.....yea right,and on top of that they don't want you to have another income so you can afford anything I guess they just want you to go ahead and pass on to make room for the next .??

I read a few of these comments and realized that I am not alone with my struggle to survive on disability. I feel that the government just wants to do away with people who has disabilities, as well as the elderly. It's like we no longer pay our dues to them, so we are punished or should I say tortured having to try to survive with the little monies we get per month. Everyone knows how much rent is, utilities, etc. that is how I know they have no regard for us, because making ends meet is virtually impossible. How sad. My heart broke reading these stories. The only comfort I have is everyone has to answer for their getting around it. You can't pay someone off to get around it. Ahhh In the long run, it doesn't pay to have so much greed.

Man oh man you hit their square on the button. I am in exactly same situation and, no one gets it. I'm Disabled since'04 with spinal degen. then to find out in 2010 from my years of construction work (mostly power plants) my breathing had continued to get worse, I found out that I am suffering with Emphysema n COPD initially 88% blockage in 2010 now it's bout 92% and only getting worse. So working is outa the question. I am at ropes end. Not even grasping at straws more like, holding my breath. My SSDI is not near enough and I'm out of ideas. Tired of it all when the government is giving themselves raises lwhenever they want to and, telling us how much of our savings that we can have all the while using our money to pay off their debts so they can afford their million dollar houses. What to do?
Suffering in more ways than one. Good luck and God Bless you and everyone in our situation
Tony C.

Thank you Jeff and Richard for sharing your story. It helped me to know I'm not going through the fustrations alone. I search the internet daily hoping to find information that will help me make ends meet as a single woman with no children. I receive SSDI but I'm not permitted to receive SSI because SSDI pays too much, which is joke. I only receive $916 monthly but my monthly bills total $1031. All the programs for income based housing or section 8 are closed for several years to come and no hope of even getting on a waiting list, let alone getting on the list to be placed into a house or apartment. All LIHEAP, Salvation Army programs, and any other community aid programs for utilities are always out of funding.

I make well below SGA and there is still the threat of me losing my disability. How am I supposed to pay for co-pays, the car insurance, credit card bills, meds, and feminine products?

They don't make it clear that SGA only applies to the Trial work period that is only 9months and extended period of eligibility (EPE) which is only 3yrs. Which gives most people 3yrs and 9 months to work.

Don't forget SGA includes your monthly disability amount for example I get $916 and I can't exceed $1170 month I only can make $254. Which I could make work if I hadn't used my trial work period and EPE, because working/volunteering from home does count against you.

The stress of not being able to pay my bills agitate my disabilities (physically and mentally). And doesn't appear to be any hope in the future. I don't even have a way to pay for cremation because I can't afford life insurance. I can't die without putting a burden another burden on my family. This really sucks and is terribly sad. Someone needs to fix this system and truly consider the cost of living and dying for the disabled.


Thank you so much for sharing your story. It can be a long, tough journey but please hang in there. Things can get better. Wishing you nothing but the best.


I get Disability the whole amount of 671.00. Y'all want to tell me how to budget my money OK. You tell me how I even pay my bills with what I make. I have a 368.58 care payment 250.00 rent 230.00 light bill not to motion the stuff u have to have for the house. Before anybody says this yes I've tried to get my car payment lowered nobody will help me. I'm going to lose my home because i can't afford to pay for it.

Hi Sabrina,
I'm sorry to hear about that! You may want to look into re-financing your car payment if possible.