According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five people are affected by disabilities. Some of those disabilities happen at birth, while others are the result of injury, illness, or aging.
Despite the limitations these conditions may cause, there are government programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities.
Social Security benefits
The Social Security Administration offers two programs to help people with disabilities and, often, the benefits can last for over a year. The programs are:
- Social Security disability insurance. This benefit is determined by the age of the person, earnings from their last place of employment, and the amount of time worked before becoming disabled. You can read more about the Social Security disability insurance.
- Supplemental Security Income. This program provides monthly payments to low income children, and adults 65 or older who are blind or have a disability. You can read more about the Supplemental Security Income program.
To apply for these benefits, contact the Social Security offices at 1-800-772-1213 or at 1-800-325-0778 (TTY for the hearing impaired).
Help for military personnel
There is also help for veterans who become disabled or injured while performing military service. Some of these benefits include:
- Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay. This benefit is for retired veterans who are 50 to 90 percent disabled. The amount of payment is determined by the person’s degree of disability. Veterans who are completely disabled receive the full benefit.
- Combat-Related Special Compensation. Retired veterans who were injured during military combat receive tax-free monthly payments.
Disabled military personnel and veterans can also receive financial help to buy a car that accommodates their needs, get dental care, a clothing allowance, and more. You can read more about benefits for disabled veterans (PDF).
You can apply for these programs by calling 1-800-827-1000 or by visiting the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
It’s worth noting that some veterans may also receive disability benefits from Social Security.
Help for special education
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides free education services to children with special needs, to help them develop, learn, and succeed in school.
Those who meet the requirements receive an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a plan that contains individualized learning goals as well as the services the child needs.
If your child has a disability, talk to the school staff to find out how to receive these special education benefits.