“I’m Applying for Disability. What Other Help Can I Get?”

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Art: Robin Mead

“I was denied disability and I am appealing, but I was able to qualify for a caregiver by having my doctor fill out a form. I was awarded 45 hours per month and it will make a huge difference in my life.” ~ Azalea

“Today I got approved for food stamps plus medical assistance. I’m so happy. I had no idea I could apply for these things while waiting for my disability decision – I wish I had applied six months ago. I’m getting $195 per month in food stamps.” – Willow


HOW TO GET HELP RIGHT NOW

Quite a few people (tragically) think that they cannot get any help until after they are approved for disability. Not true at all!

You can still apply for disability programs even if you are not on disability. Many disability programs do not care if you have been approved for disability, but instead will require your doctor to sign a form.

If you are low-income, you can also apply for low-income programs. These type of programs will not care if you are disabled, and will only consider your finances.

Please don’t wait to get the help you need.

HEALTH CARE

⏰ Learn more about How to Get Medicaid While Applying for Disability

⏰ If you were turned down for Medicaid: How to Get Medicaided

⏰ Where to find Free or Discounted Medications

⏰ Where to find Free or Discounted Doctors

⏰  Where to find Free or Discounted Dentists

⏰  Where to find: Free or Discounted Lab Tests

⏰ If all else fails: How To Explain Why You Haven’t Been to the Doctor

HOUSING

⏰ Long list with many housing programs that provide affordable housing.

⏰ Section 8 often the most affordable. If your income is $0, your rent may be $0. If anyone tells you that you can’t get Section 8: Section 8 Guide for the Disabled and Plucky

⏰ HUD offers special apartments for people with disabilities. Readers report that some of these are nice, clean, safe places to live. You do not need to be approved for Social Security. How to Find Yourself a Nice, Affordable HUD Apartment

⏰ If you are already in HUD or Section 8 housing, or applying, there are many disability accommodations that may help you. Again, Social Security disability is not required. Section 8 Secrets for People with Disabilities

CASH ASSISTANCE

⏰ Some areas offer State Cash Assistance. If there is a work or job training requirement, ask for a form your doctor can sign verifying if you are unable to work.

⏰ Social Security is not the only form of disability you can apply for. There may be other forms of disability assistance you are eligible for.

⏰ For TANF you can request a form for your doctor to sign to excuse you from work requirements. This program provides small amounts of cash assistance to families with children who are very low income.

FOOD

⏰ For food stamps, you will be excused from any work requirements if your doctor signs a form that you are unable to work due to illness or disability.

⏰ If your food stamps are very low, or you got turned down for food stamps, it may be because you do not know the food stamps regulations.

💠 Many areas have food banks that offer free groceries. National food bank directory.

HOME AIDES

⏰ Home Aide programs are available in all states. Some programs do not require you to be on disability. They will ask your doctor to sign a form.

💠 If you are living with someone who is providing care for you, check out: Extra Benefits and Help if You Have a Live-In Aide

⏰  If you already have a caregiver: If your condition is severe and friend or family member is helping you with stay out of a nursing home, you may qualify for funding to pay that person a salary. How State Home Care Works & How to Apply

💠 If you are homebound, check out How To Be Homebound for other ideas for at-home services.

STRATEGIES FOR FINANCIAL SURVIVAL

⏰  There are many things you can do to help your financial survival while applying. Plan ahead, be creative, be willing to change your life.

⏰  Please read this page to learn many smart strategies and solutions that have worked for other readers. How to Survive Financially While Applying for Disability

⏰  Of course, the best way to survive financially is to get approved as soon as possible. There are many wonderful things you can do to improve your application and greatly increase your chances.

OTHER DISABILITY SERVICES

More services that do NOT require Social Security disability. You can apply if your doctor signs a form or writes a letter.

⏰  Student Loan Disability Discharge

⏰ Disability parking placards

⏰ Wheelchairs, Scooters and Medical equipment

Tax Breaks for Disabilities

Disability transportation

Home Modifications

Car Expenses

⏰ For any programs that require disability, make sure to ask them if you can apply by submitting a letter from your doctor or asking your doctor to sign a form.

LOCAL HELP

Local nonprofits and agencies may have other services available in your area. Contact them to see what is available:

🌷 Community based mental health centers 

🌷 Palliative Care Programs

🌷 Veterans Programs

🌷 Homeless Agencies

🌷 Area Agency on Aging and Disability (offers service to younger people too)

🌷 Centers for Independent Living

🌷 Local nonprofits

🌷 Social Workers

🍭 Vocational Rehabilitation Programs

🌷 Meals on Wheels or Home Meal Programs

LOW INCOME PROGRAMS

⏰ There are many programs available for low income people. You do not need to be disabled.

⏰ Exactly what it says it is: Good News! $10 Internet! For Real!

⏰ Find assistance with phone, utilities, vet bills, transportation and more: How to Be Poor in America

DON’T FORGET TO DOCUMENT!

⏰ All of the services above can be a big help for your disability application, but only if you document the help you are getting. Don’t forget!

⏰ Make sure to keep copies of anything your doctor or case worker signs or fills out. Submit it to Social Security or to your lawyer. If you don’t collect and submit it yourself, there is a very good chance Social Security will never see it.

⏰ How to Documentation Supports and Services While Applying for Disability

“My Doctor Won’t Sign a Form”

If your won’t sign a simple two-minute form for food stamps or handicap parking, what are the chances they are going to help you get the much more detailed, complex, and time-consuming documentation you need to get approved for disability?

If your doctor refuses to sign a simple form for something you genuinely need, this is a huge red flag. Be extremely careful. Be extremely glad you found this out now and not five years from now when there would be no way to go back and fix things. Read Dandelion’s Story.

What Do You Think? 

Updated July 2018. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

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