How to Get Cash Assistance For People with Disabilities

Art: Robin Mead

Seven ways to apply for cash assistance if you are disabled. For more smart ideas on where to find help: How to Be Poor in America

#1 – Emergency Assistance Programs

Some areas offer emergency assistance to cover the cost of rent and utilities for people in emergency situations.

  • Ask at your department of social service
  • Google the words “emergency assistance” and the name of your city or county
  • Google the words “emergency assistance” and the name of your state

#2 – Temporary State Disability

Available in five states. This is a program you can apply for when you first stop working. California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Rhode Island offer short term disability benefits through the state. There is also a program in New York. You do not have to be low-income to apply for this. Many people get on this type of disability while waiting for the Social Security Decision. If you get on temporary disability, please also apply for Social Security right away. Do not wait.

#3 – General Relief and Cash Assistance Programs

Some areas offer a small amount of cash assistance to low-income people. This program is usually for very low income people (people not yet approved for disability). It is often a few hundred dollars per month, or sometimes they will arrange to pay your rent. It is not available everywhere.

  • Inquire at your local social services department and your local town hall.
  • You can also try googling “cash assistance” “general assistance” and/or “general relief” and the name of your town, city or state.
  • After your disability application is approved, you may need to pay the money back
  • Some (but not all) cash assistance programs are listed on

#4 – TANF

If you have children and you are very low income, you may be eligible for Temporary Aid for Needy Families. This program provides small amounts of cash assistance to families. The program may be called something different in your state. If you are a single parent, they may require that you pursue child support.

  • Contact your local department of Social Services
  • Check

#5 – Other Kinds of Help

You do not need to be approved for disability to receive assistance in most disability programs. There are all kinds of programs you may be able to apply for: Affordable housing, transportation, medical care, home aides, discharges on student loans, tax relief, home modifications, and more. “I’m Applying for Disability. What Other Help Can I Get?”

#6 – Quicker Disability

If you are applying for Social Security disability, certain situations can cause quicker or immediate disability payments. Take a look here: How to Get a Quicker Disability Decision

#7 – Local Agencies

Sometimes local nonprofit agencies offer cash assistance or other forms of assistance, or can point you in the right direction for finding help in your area. Where to look:


Programs With Work Requirements

Some cash assistance programs listed above require that the person works or joins a work training program. Ask them for a copy of their policy or form your doctor can sign to verify that you cannot work. You can still qualify for the program.

Warning # 1

For some cash assistance programs, after you are approved for disability, you will need to pay back this assistance out of your disability backpay. If you recover and go back to work, you may be asked to pay it back from your work income.

Warning # 2

Some people who collect cash assistance or temporary disability decide to wait before they apply for Social Security Disability. They think they might recover, or they think they can apply for Social Security when the assistance runs out. Do not do this. We repeat: Do not do this. You will regret if you do this. Trust us.

Feeling Confused?

The programs listed above are different programs and may be run out of different agencies. Some are statewide and some are run by cities or counties. Some are available everywhere and some are only in limited locations. Examples:

🌷For example, this is the New York City state temporary disability program program and this is the cash assistance program and this is the extra cash assistance program and this is the emergency one-shot assistance program.

🌷 Here’s another example: this is the Pennsylvania Emergency Shelter Allowance and this is General Assistance and this is One Time Assistance.

🌷 Here is an example of cash assistance in Maryland

🌷 Here are examples of emergency assistance in Kentucky and New Jersey.

Learn More

🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability 

🌷 Learn more about this topic here: What Other Kinds of Disability Can I Apply For?

🌷 And here: How to Survive Financially While Applying for Disability

🌷 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌷 Page Updated: 7/1/19

🌷 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: 

19 thoughts on “How to Get Cash Assistance For People with Disabilities”

  1. I was receiving 300 dollars a month from a welfare program in MASS for disability pending a determination for my social security disability. I signed a form with the welfare department stating I would repay this money if I was approved for my social security. I receive HUD housing rental assistance and was told by my landlord that I had to include this 300 a month as income. I was approved by Social security for a partial sum that covered about a year that I was receiving cancer treatments. Welfare automatically took the 300 dollars out for the 12 months they paid me for a total of 3,600 dollars. My 1st question is why did welfare take back the full 3,600 when I was not fully approved for any future social security benefits, just that one time payment for the 12 months of cancer treatments?
    2nd questions is in regards to me being required to include the welfare payment as income even though it was paid back to welfare in full. Since it was just a loan from welfare and paid fully back my landlord said it is considered an overpayment of tenant rent. SHouldnt I get that overpayment back from HUD?

    Please someone help me with this issue as I am getting the run around from everyone and everywhere I try to get these answers. tyvm cindy


    1. Excellent question.

      1. I believe this is correct. Many cash aid programs will have a payback on overlapping months, if you received backpay for months overlapping when you received the cash aid, welfare would reclaim those funds.

      2. This is an interesting argument about it being a loan. Since it was a monthly payment, typically it would count, but if you wish to make an argument that it was a loan, you could certainly try that. I’d be interested to hear what happens. Normally you would have to document it as a loan at the time the money was received… I’ve never heard of anyone trying to be paid back retroactively. You certainly lose nothing by trying, but I can’t guarantee it would work, or how many times you would have to appeal. You could try appealing and continuing to appeal and showing documentation. there are also some places you can contact here. Hope this helps.


  2. This case has 13 years now I was working in ER hospital when an overdose patient kicks me out and I end over equipment that broke my right side and with the years I have had surgery o. R shoulder R knee
    I have 8 damage vertebrates that I don’t want to touch so I live in pain and manage that from nerve system
    Pill last June I fall on street broke the L Shoulder so I have Been unemployable since 2011 the gov took my pension portion in Obama time 2008 so trying ssi and ssid. In NJ they denied 3 times in 61 now can’t I had 25 years of working time and I get GA and snap this year they cut my GA without letting me know
    I have doctor page that said chronically disabled 60+ and they extended to this year only I did apply SSI but I need the help the money was suspended until is approved by state another month
    There is 3 month with out money to pay the bills what can I do ?
    I thought there was a program for 60+ relief no one will care for me now I can not work anymore and they very tided with disability unless you cripple you get denied what can I do please if you know another non profit or who can help will be appreciated thank you and the art color are so beautiful love it’s


    1. I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through. I’m sorry I do not know local programs in your area. Sometimes calling 2-1-1 can lead you to local programs. If you feel your GA was cut without reason, I hope your local legal aide program might be able to assist you with figuring this out:


  3. i think i have a different kind of question …….i was on disability benifits …and was taken off benifits from there doctors review …i missed the appointment …i was 15 mins late they were literally locking the doors …i appealed the desision and was in the hospital at the time and day of the hearing …when i was released i sent the correct paper work with proof from the hospital …yet they said i mailed the paperwork too late they cut me off of my benifits …i appealed because i knew i sent it in on time …a year later i got a letter saying i was correct and i did send the needed info as requested ..with a separate letter saying i was wrongfully stopped from benifits and i would be reinstated plus all the back pay or retroactive pay i would have recieved had they not made their mistake …ive been to my local ssa office numerous times ..last visit they told me wensday …that was three wensdays ago …i feel like an idiot going there so often …always with the assurance its forthcoming ..ive called numerous times to the supervisor and the person assigned to my case …ive only gotten one call back ..about two months ago …any advice will help ..i cant afford a lawyer cause i owe so much for the time that they made their mistake …im bordeline homeless as i write this …not my mistake ….


  4. How can I get emergency financial hardship assistance, I really need transportation, really bad I am Disabled, and I have no transportation, or any family or friends, able to Assist me in getting around. I can’t stand it, Being Disabled. And can’t find help.
    What kind of government assistance can I get..


  5. I live in the state of Alabama our services for anyone looking for information is 311. I really like your website.


  6. Thank. You very much for you help.
    English is my second language, but everything is explained clear and understood..
    I need help paying PUD . One time they even disconnected it and I had to borrow here and there to reconnect it. I have $771 SSI only. I do have help from energy assistance once a year. That’s it. Red Cross helped me a few years ago, but they no longer do it.
    Are there any other sources I can address my needs. I live in Washington state.
    Thank you.


    1. Hello Lola,

      Thank you for your post. I’m sorry I do not know very much about local programs. You could try dialing 2-1-1 in your area to ask if there is anything else available in your area.

      Perhaps you could also ask your current program if it is possible to apply more than once a year. Many utility assistance programs have three different programs: winter, summer, and emergency.

      In some states, winter assistance is based on a set formula.

      But summer and emergency assistance is different. It is based on how much you actually owe at the moment you apply, so you can plan ahead knowing that is coming.

      I hope you are able to find something.


  7. Hi
    I recieved $829 monthly from SSD. My rent is $808 monthly, plus ConEdison.
    What I want to know is …..Where can I get extra cash assistance to help me survive the month?? I receive Food Stamps….Thank God. But what about help in NOT getting put into the street??
    Thanks for any info


    1. The best help that most of our readers have found is to move into subsidized housing where you can find rent that is very affordable for you.

      If that is your only income, then in subsidize housing your rent would be closer to $240 per month. Or $100 per month plus utilities.

      Do not listen to anyone who tells you that subsidized housing is impossible to get into you or that all buildings are not nice. This is not true.


  8. If I’m receiving SSDI, can I also apply for SSI? If so how do I go about it? I have CRPS and got SSDI the first try🤞. I love your website and all the info you give. Thank you for doing this.


  9. Hello , Im recieving SSDI, living on $724permonth. Im have a college education/degree & want to go back to work part-time. I live in the country and few miles from nearest town where there are jobs. My problem is NOTRANSPORTATION. It is killing me, I am homebound due to this & see no wa
    y out. Any ideas?


    1. Hi Janice,

      I’m sorry I don’t have great suggestions. If you contact the vocational rehabilitation agencies in your area, sometimes they can help with transportation to get people back to work.

      Also, some areas have paratransit programs, but not in all places. You can contact your public transportation department to find out.

      Of course you could also look into online or phone jobs.

      By the way, you might be eligible for SSI + SSDI. That would be a total of $770 per month, which is a little bit higher. In some states it is more than 770.


  10. I obviously do not have the time or energy to hunt down too many places to find info on disability….. But this website is amazingly helpful. The colorful illustrations are also a great pick me up! I just have to tell you I have been reading things for awhile now and I am just so thankful for the time and energy you all put into helping people!


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