How to Document Medical Expenses

Art: Robin Mead

If you are disabled, health and medical expenses can lower your rent, raise your food stamps, and help you qualify for other income-based programs.

In most cases, these rules also apply to Seniors (even if they are not disabled).

Some programs will require that you be approved for disability, while others will accept that you are disabled based on a doctor’s statement.

Which Programs Deduct Medical Expenses?

  • HUD Housing
  • Housing Choice Vouchers
  • Rural Rental Assistance
  • SNAP Food Stamps
  • IRS Taxes
  • Some Medicaid programs
  • Other housing programs that set rent at 30% of income
  • Many other income-based programs (ask)

How Do I Deduct Medical Expenses?

🌸 For Housing Programs: How to Request Deductions for Housing

🌸 For Food Stamps: What Counts as a Medical Expense for Food Stamps?

🌸 For Taxes: How to Get Tax Breaks for Disabilities

🌸 For other programs: Request a copy of their list of acceptable medical expenses. Sometimes their lists are very broad categories, so you can also check out the two lists above to get more details and ideas on things that may count.

How to Document Expenses

In some states, Food Stamps does not require receipts or a doctor’s letter. In other states, you may need more documentation. For Housing, you will likely need more documentation. Documents you can submit:

🌸 Doctor’s Form – If your items are already listed in your medical records, you can use this. Otherwise you can ask your doctor to write down and sign a list of recommended items: Sample Doctor’s Form for Medical Expenses

🌸 Budget – It may go smoother if you write and enclose a budget of medical expenses. Here’s a sample of Rosemary’s Medical Expenses Budget.

🌸 Assistance Animal Letter – If applicable, doctor’s letter for a support animal: Prescription for Emotional Support AnimalHousing recognizes Emotional Support Animals. In many states, SNAP only gives deductions for service animals.

🌸 Cover Letter: If your case worker is not familiar with the rules for medical expenses, or tells you that deductions are not possible, you can always find and show them the policies yourself. Examples of housing requests: Request for Medical Deductions and Request for Assistance Animal Deductions

🌸 Receipts – Receipts showing costs of items or services (Twelve months is not usually necessary. One month of receipts is enough in many cases. Most programs look at projected medical expenses.)

What if My Medical Expenses Get Rejected?

🌸 Never ever let someone turn you down verbally or discourage you from applying. Submit your request in writing. Ask for a WRITTEN denial. This is the golden rule for all social service programs always and forever.

🌸 If you request in writing and still get rejected, you can resubmit with more documentation (see list above).

🌸 Or you can appeal if you feel a mistake was made.

🌸 Or you can look online to see if you can find a copy of their policies for medical expense deductions, or ask your worker for a copy of the policies. You can also ask your caseworker if she has a moment to look at a policy with you. Read her the sentence in the policy that you are looking at, and see what she says. If she agrees with you, ask her if she could recalculate your case.

Camellia Submits Expenses

“Once a year, I make a list of  everything health-related that I buy out-of-pocket. I bring the list to my doctor and he writes that these things are “medically necessary.”  I keep all receipts and I organize the heck out of what I submit: I include a cover sheet with each category of items with dates and sub-totals followed by the receipts taped to full pages in the order of the cover sheet.”

Neroli Submits Expenses

I am going to address this to everyone who is disabled and is not getting enough food stamps to feed the themselves or their family: Please make sure you are writing off every single medical expense. Stuff you don’t even think relates to your disability counts. Neroli’s Amazing Guide to Deducting Medical Expenses for SNAP

What Do You Think? 

Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

9 thoughts on “How to Document Medical Expenses”

      1. I wrote it on a blank paper & had Nurse practitioner signed. Is nurse practitioner considered a medical practitioner?
        Thank you for the advice!


        1. I believe a nurse practitioner would be an acceptable medical source. It will help if her name and contact information is included, along with your name and a statement from her that these are medically necessary for your condition.


          1. I am an organizational mess. Thank you for organizing the helpful information for other people with disability! My vitamins & supplements got deducted from IRS taxes.


  1. Thank you for compiling and organizing for other people with chronic illness. I’m an organizational mess, but everything here is so helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

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