About 1 in 4 Americans has a disability that affects their cognition, hearing, mobility, vision or their ability to live independently, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If this describes you, and you have trouble making ends meet, a number of programs are available to help provide assistance for housing, medical bills and other expenses. Below are a few resources you can turn to for financial help.
Resources for food, housing and medical care
To reduce out-of-pocket costs for regular monthly expenses in the form of direct payments or subsidies, consider these resources.
- Housing Voucher Program (HVP): Offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – known as Section 8 – these vouchers pay a portion of rent costs for approved rental properties.
- Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program: Also offered by HUD, this program offers counseling and assistance covering housing expenses.
- Medicaid: This assistance program offers low-income adults assistance covering medical bills.
- Medicare: This insurance program assists in covering medical costs for those 65 years or older as well as those who have disabilities and are younger than 65.
- Social Security Administration (SSA): The SSA helps cover living expenses for those with disabilities through both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Those with disabilities qualify for an increased SNAP allotment, which assists with buying food.
Resources for specific financial situations
Consider these resources when you need help paying for schooling, modifying your home to make it more accessible or for whenever you have an emergency.
Education assistance for people with disabilities
- Federal Student Aid: Financial aid through programs like the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and the Federal Work-Study Program are available, but you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
- State Education Aid: Financial aid and scholarship programs are also available through schools and independent organization. State education agencies can show you what’s available locally.
- Loan Repayment Relief: If you are totally and permanently disabled, have federal student loans, and are unable to work, you may qualify for a Total and Permanent Disability loan discharge.
Resources from national charities and organizations
- HealthWell Foundation: If you are under-insured, this organization can help with out-of-pocket costs.
- National Disability Institute: This organization provides financial resources by partnering with community organizations, financial institutions, and governments.
- Patient Advocate Foundation: If you have a chronic, life-threatening, or debilitating disease and need cash management help, co-payment relief, or financial aid funds, this organization can help.
- The Arc: The Arc’s Center for Future Planning aims to support and encourage adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families to plan for the future. The Center provides reliable information and assistance to individuals with I/DD, their family members and friends, professionals who support them and other members of the community on areas such as person-centered planning, decision-making, housing options, and financial planning.
Other financial resources for people with disabilities
- Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts: These are tax-advantaged saving accounts specifically for people with disabilities. As long as you use the money in the account for qualified expenses, which include basic living expenses, education, employment training, health care, housing, legal fees, transportation, or other expenses related to your disability, you don’t have to pay any taxes on the account earnings. (States set up and manage ABLE accounts and programs.)
- Credit Card and Other Debt Repayment: Debt can creep up on anyone. Consider working with a credit counseling agency to establish a debt repayment plan or work with your bank’s financial services department for help.
- Mortgage Loan Forbearance: When it becomes difficult to manage your mortgage, you may be able to request a loan forbearance to temporarily pause your payments or modify your loan to make it easier to repay. If you can no longer afford your home, a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure would be last resorts to consider.
Many financial institutions, nonprofit and government agencies offer financial assistance to people with disabilities. If you need help, reach out.
Be mindful that while aid is available, there may be a waiting period to become approved to receive your benefits. To make the process go faster and more smoothly, make sure you have all your documentation together. Having information like your income, job history and medical history at hand can make the paperwork go faster, so you can get the support you need sooner.