Government Benefit Tips for Disabled IndividualsPosted November 18, 2016 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® Here are some tips for saving money and reminders of benefit eligibility for free services if you are disabled:
Social Security Payments to Dependents
Who is eligible: Widows and widowers, children, and other dependents of a Social Security recipient.
What you get: Monthly payments based on the Social Security recipient’s work history.
How it works: After a death in the family, many people fail to take advantage of money that they are entitled to receive from the Social Security Administration. Referred to as “survivor benefits,” these payments are made to the spouse of the deceased wage earner and any children or stepchildren under the age of 18. To qualify, the widowed spouse must be over the age of 60 or over the age of 50 and disabled. If the spouse is caring for children of the wage earner that are under the age of 16, then these age restrictions do not apply. And in some cases, stepchildren, grandchildren, or step grandchildren can also collect. If a child is severely disabled, he or she can also collect on a parent’s Social Security for as long as needed.
Tip: Divorce does not necessarily disqualify you from collecting benefits. You can collect on an ex-spouse’s Social Security record if you were married for more than ten years before you divorced and the benefits you are entitled to from your own work are less than that of your former spouse.
Who is eligible: People with mobility problems and seniors.
What you get: Transportation to and from your home to appointments and other activities.
How it works: “Paratransit” is the official term for transportation provided by local communities for those who cannot drive or comfortably use regular public transportation. These services vary by community, but is typically a door-to-door van service available by appointment. The services are provided by local government agencies, but they receive federal funds intended to guarantee access for the disabled and elderly.
To find out more about the federally funded transportation options in your area, contact your local Area Agency on Aging. More transportation resources are available by searching the Department of Health and Human Service’s Eldercare Locator on the topic Transportation.
Tip: These services typically require advance planning. It works best if you establish a regular weekly schedule, so you don’t have to remember to call each time.
Home or Car Modifications for Veterans
Who is eligible: Veterans with a disability.
What you get: A loan or loan guarantee to buy a house or car or modify an existing house or car.
How it works: The Veterans Administration provides extensive services to veterans who are considered to have a service-related disability that prevents them from performing normal, everyday activities. But this doesn’t mean that you had to become disabled during service. For many veterans, a mental, emotional, or physical condition that began decades before in the military only becomes disabling with age. In this case, you may qualify for service-connected disability benefits at the point that your condition actually becomes disabling.
Tip: If you live with family members, the grants may also be used to modify the home you’re living in or the car in which you’re being driven, even though it’s not owned by you.
Help with Household Chores
Who is eligible: Those over 60 or disabled.
What you get: Free or low-cost home and yard maintenance and moving help.
How it works: If you are struggling to maintain your home, it may be possible to obtain help with all those household tasks that have become difficult or impossible to cope with. Under the auspices of the Older Americans Act, many Area Agencies on Aging offer help with household chores as part of the umbrella of services they offer to help people live independently in their homes. In Florida, for example, the Mid-Florida Area Agency on Aging covers a wide array of household chores including seasonal cleaning, yard work, and household repairs that don’t require a specialized license. They will sometimes even cover pest control if it is part of overall house maintenance. They will also send someone out to help with lifting and moving furniture, appliances, and other heavy objects.
In some areas, the Area Agency on Aging charges a fee for these services, but it’s typically much less than you would normally pay. In Minnesota, for example, one agency charges $15 an hour for snow removal and yard work. Some programs are free but require participants to pay for the services upfront, then apply for grants for reimbursement. In many cases, the minimum age to qualify is 60.
More ideas here: https://www.caring.com/articles/government-benefits
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®