Now that you understand the basics, the next steps for the financial aspect of housing comes down to a few questions. Once you have answered those, you will be able to determine what resources are available.
1) Does he/she have a waiver?
2) Does he/she have a job? What is their income?
3) What assets does the adult have?
If your adult with a disability has a Medicaid waiver, this unlocks a variety of financial assistance options and services that come at low or no cost. To understand these benefits in terms of housing assistance we recommend sitting down with the DBHDS Housing Specialist in your region as well as contacting the team at your local Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS).
If your child or adult does not have or qualify for a waiver, there are other ways to explore financial assistance. The first avenue is the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs. They are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities.
What is Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes) that is designed to help disabled people with little or no income. It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
What is SSDI?
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays benefits to you and certain family members (including disabled children) if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough – and recently enough – and paid Social Security taxes on your earnings.
What if an adult was diagnosed before age 22? What other benefits can they receive?
An adult who has a disability that began before age 22 may be eligible for benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. The individual does not have to had worked. They cannot earn more than $1310 a month to qualify.
When applying for many of the programs listed above, the adult’s income and assets are taken into consideration. There are several ways to help protect their assets and ensure they don’t impede their ability to qualify.
What is a Special Needs Trust?
A special needs trust is a legal arrangement and fiduciary relationship that allows a physically or mentally disabled or chronically ill person to receive income without reducing their eligibility for the public assistance disability benefits provided by Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare or Medicaid. In a fiduciary relationship, a person or entity acts on behalf of another person or people to manage assets.
A special needs trust is a popular strategy for those who want to help someone in need without taking the risk that the person will lose their eligibility for programs that require their income or assets to remain below a certain limit.
What is an ABLE Account?
ABLEnow accounts help individuals with disabilities save money to pay for qualified expenses, without being taxed on the earnings – and in most cases, without losing eligibility for certain means-tested benefit programs. The money generated by these accounts can be used for housing expenses.