According to the most recent census, almost one in five Americans are now living with a disability of some kind. That’s a staggering statistic, especially when we consider just how many benefits remain open to such individuals that go unclaimed. Are you a disabled American, and if so, are you aware of the full range of financial support that is open to you? This guide may assist in filling in a number of gaps to your income.
Benefits Available to Disabled Americans
The Department of Social Security has a number of benefits available to US citizens living with disability, regardless of their employment status – though obviously there is a sliding scale that depends upon financial need. Use the Social Security Benefit Calculator to assess exactly what you may be entitled to claim.
Anybody that wishes to register as disabled must do so through this department, who will work alongside healthcare professionals to conduct a full assessment of the individual’s circumstances, known as a Disability Determination Process. It is important to note that the DSS use different criteria to the American Disabilities Act when it comes to assessing and declaring an individual to be disabled.
If you would like to check which benefits your circumstances qualify you for this information is easily obtained from the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) – from here, an application for disability benefit can be completed online. It can take as long as nine months for an application to be processed, depending on the size of the backlog at any given time.
Benefits provided by the US government generally fall under two key categories, both of which also provide access to Medicaid. In order to qualify for these benefits, individuals must be aged below 65, and be unable to complete ‘substantial gainful activity’ (SGA) – which is performing a job that pays a salary of around $1,000 – for at least a year due to their disability.
- Social Security Disability Insurance, which will pay an amount to yourself or your family based on your own previous contributions through tax – unless they can prove that their disability occurred before the age of 22, applicants will be expected to have accrued at least 20 social security credits in the previous decade. This means that there is no hard and fast rule as to how much money you would receive with each payment, as it depends on what your lifetime earnings were up until the point of your disability. At the time of writing, the monthly average is a little over $1,100, while the maximum payment has been recorded as $2,687.
- Supplemental Security Income, which is designed for people who are unable to work due to severe illness or a debilitating physical disability, such as blindness. Claimants of SSI may be able to return to work without sacrificing this financial assistance by utilizing one of the department’s work incentives. The payment amount depends on the circumstances of the individual – including the State they reside in, as the amount varies from location to location.
There are, however, further benefits open to disabled Americans who may be struggling financially – the ADA can provide all kinds of insight. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is an example, which is better known as ’food stamps’. There are usually very strict criteria that must be met in order to qualify for this assistance, but any claimant of SSI will be eligible. Any American that was disabled during military service, meanwhile, will also be entitled to a number of benefits that can be claimed through the eBenefits portal.
Finally, any disabled American should be certain that they are claiming back any tax break they are entitled to – the financial assistance could be substantial.
Grants Available to Disabled Americans
It’s not just monthly benefits that can be claimed in lieu of a paycheck for disabled Americans – there are also a number of grants available, including some officially sanctioned by the government.
Grants can also be sought from a variety of charitable organisations, including The Kessler Foundation – as well as a sizable number of charities that specialize in particular health concerns and diseases that leave Americans registered as disabled. The Chanda Plan Foundation is a notable example of such a body, as this charity works tirelessly to assist disabled Americans that may be struggling to receive the appropriate healthcare through financial hardship. More and more disabled Americans are also turning to crowdfunding to assist with financial difficulties, with the likes of Watsi – sites that specialize in finding the funds to cover medical and disability-related expenses – growing increasingly popular.
Veterans that find themselves disabled thanks to injuries incurred while in service to their country, meanwhile, are covered by various government schemes.
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool
- Citizens Disability
- Department of Social Security
- Disability Benefits Help
- Disabled World
- The Kessler Foundation
- Social Security Benefit Calculator
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- US Government
- Veteran Compensation