According to the Census Bureau report in 2012, nearly 1 in 5 Americans have a disability. This accounts for 56.7 million disabled persons or 19 percent of the US population.
Individuals with a disability can experience not only mental and physical challenges, but also experience financial burden that can make accessing medical treatment and care more difficult.
The lifetime cost for a person with a disability vary depending on a range of factors. These factors include the type of disability an individual has, household and family circumstances as well as the severity of the disability. For example a study published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2014 found that individuals diagnosed with autism will spend more than $2 million in their lifetime for treatment, therapy, rehabilitation and medication.
This is supported by the The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which indicates that the average cost for families with a disabled person can be extremely high as compared to households without.
Average lifetime costs per person were estimated at $1,014,000 for persons with mental retardation, $921,000 for persons with cerebral palsy, $383,000 for persons with hearing loss, and $601,000 for persons with vision impairment.
Indirect costs such as increase in household bills and loss of salary can have a huge affect on the family’s ability to pay for medical expenses. Many family members take on full time care-giving roles in order to care for a loved one with a disability. As a result, loss of income can impact the family immensely.
For individual with a disability looking for financial assistance, there are many opportunities that can assist to ensure that you are able to receive the proper medical care and treatment.
15 Ways To Get Financial Assistance For Disabled Persons
1. Extra Help
Individuals who are already on Medicare can seek further assistance through a government program called Extra Help. Extra Help is designed to assist individuals with a disability to cover the cost of prescription drugs and medications. Per year, patients can seek up to $4000 of financial assistance.
2. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formally known as Food Stamps provides individuals who are low income earners access to financial assistance for food. Individuals living with a disability can access this program to pay for everyday costs.
Individuals who are accepted into the program will receive ‘stamps’ which can then be used to purchase basic needs and food in select retailers that participate.
3. Lifeline Program
Another program that is available for disabled persons is called the Lifeline Program. This is a federal program that gives discounts for individuals from telecommunications companies across the United States. You will be able to receive discounts on your phone bills and therefore reduce your everyday living expenses as a result. The program collaborates with over 2000 telecommunications companies nation wide, where individuals can receive up to $9.25 per month worth of discounts.
4. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides financial assistance for disabled persons and their families to access home heating and cooling at a lower cost. Individuals can receive financial assistance for natural gas or electric bills. You must be a low-income earner to be eligible for this program.
5. Weatherization Assistance Program
Another way for individuals to reduce the cost of heating and cooling bills long-term is to connect with the Weatherization Assistance Program. The Weatherization Assistance Program supports low income families and households by providing a range of services to reduce the overall cost of your bill. This includes energy audit, safety testing and repair of heating equipment and insulation. If you are renting and do not own the property you live in, you must get a written consent from the owner before applying for this program.
6. Social Security and the Supplemental Security Income disability program
Social Security and the Supplemental Security Income disability programs are also available, which are administered by the federal government.
Individuals looking for financial assistance for disabled persons can seek financial aid from these two programs. There are a number of benefits for both, which include access to medication, treatment and care for free or at a lower cost.
7. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
The Social Security Disability Insurance gives cash payments to individuals as well as other benefits. It is a form of insurance for individuals when they require medical attention and are unable to continue working due to their disability.
8. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI or Supplemental Security Income is another federal government program created to help individuals with a disability. If you are blind, aged or disabled you can access funding to help cover general expenses such as housing, food and clothing as well as expenses related to your medical care.
9. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is another program that offers individuals who are disabled with funding for basic needs. Funding is given at a maximum amount of 60 months per person.
10. Rebuilding Together
Rebuilding Together is a on-profit organization that provide assistance through the dedicated staff of volunteers. This national organization provides individuals with a disability the opportunity to receive assistance for home modifications and home repairs.
11. State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAP)
Pharmaceutical assistance programs from the state government offer individuals who are already on Medicare or Medicaid further financial assistance to cover the cost of their medication and drug treatments.
12. Assistive Technology
Individuals can also access equipment that can help individuals with a disability live more independently. This is particularly important for adults living with a disability who require equipment to adjust living on their own. There are many second-hand wheelchairs, hearing aids, free aid equipment as well as grants that provide help to gain access to disability equipment through the Assistive Technology offices found in every state.
13. Developments Vouchers
Patients can also receive vouchers that can assist in covering the cost your rent. These vouchers are available to individuals who are non-elderly and who have a disability. In order to receive these benefits, the applicant must not be currently receiving any form of assistance for housing. There may also be a waiting list for periods of time in order to receive approval.
14. Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs
Patient Assistance Programs are run by many large pharmaceutical companies nation wide to help individuals with a disability access medication and treatment at a low cost or for entirely free. Generally there are restrictions to how long an individual can access a program for. This is generally 2 years for discounts and co-payment options and 3 months for free medication.
There are many patient assistance programs available, however individuals must receive clearance from their medical professional to ensure drugs and medications are suitable for their treatment plan.
Financial assistance for disabled persons can also be given through using a free fundraising service online. Individuals can access the website to create and run a free fundraiser, where donations of support are given from family and friends.
A PayPal transaction fee is charged through using online payment gateways, where the charge is deducted from the donation itself. Fundraiser will not require to pay out of pocket for any costs using this service. Individuals upon receiving the funding can choose how best to use the funding as they see fit.
1) Nearly 1 in 5 People Have a Disability in the U.S., Census Bureau Reports: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb12-134.html
2) Cost of cerebral palsy: http://cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/costs/
3) Lifetime Costs Of Autism Can Exceed $2 Million, Study Says: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/09/autism-costs_n_5474061.html
4) Disability.gov’s Guide to Financial Help for Low-Income Individuals & Families: https://www.disability.gov/resource/disability-govs-guide-to-financial-help-for-low-income-families-individuals/
5) Financial assistance for disabled: http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/disability_financial_assistanc.html
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