Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide pay benefits to qualified disabled individuals each month. These payments help to cover the costs of a disability, including treating their medical condition or living expenses associated with their impairment. However, disability benefits can also be used for other costs if you are struggling to make ends meet.
Our disability attorneys at Dayes Law Firm discuss the programs that may be available to help pay for housing, utilities and other costs and what is required to access these resources. If you need help with your application to obtain disability benefits, contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.
Housing Assistance for Disabled Individuals
Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not specifically offer housing assistance, regardless of whether you are receiving SSD or SSI disability benefits. Disabled individuals who rely on these benefits often find it difficult to find affordable housing due to low income.
However, you can choose to use your benefit payments to help pay for things such as rent or utilities. You do not have to use your monthly disability payments only for expenses related to your disability. The only exception would be for lump-sum SSI pay payments to children with disabilities.
Programs That May Help with Rent, Utilities and Other Costs
Fortunately, there are some programs available that subsidize housing and other necessities for low-income disabled individuals and families.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helps pay rent for the disabled, elderly and low-income individuals and families. This program is also commonly referred to as Section 8 housing.
The way the program works is by subsidizing housing costs for recipients. The recipient is responsible for paying a portion of his or her income for rent each month, and the voucher makes up the difference.
For HCVP approval, applicants must meet strict guidelines, including:
- Family status
- Asset and income limits
- Citizenship status
- Criminal history free of certain convictions (including drug offenses)
Local public housing authorities (PHAs) are responsible to set preferences for those receiving housing vouchers. Many PHAs are creating opportunities for disabled persons to gain housing through the program.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program that helps extremely low-income households with utility payments for gas and/or electric bills, assisting with heating and cooling costs. This program is available through the Administration for Children and Families.
Many individual utility companies offer payment assistance in the form of payment plans and other methods. Local governments and utility coalitions often offer energy audit programs that help customers improve home efficiency to lower utility costs.
Many SSDI and SSI recipients also qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Also known as food stamps, this program provides funds for certain foods at local retailers each month through a prepaid card. To receive SNAP benefits, individuals and households must meet strict income requirements.
How a Disability Attorney Can Help
The licensed Phoenix Social Security Disability attorneys at our firm are prepared to fight for your best interests. Whether you have questions about obtaining disability benefits or need help appealing a denial, we provide our legal services at no upfront cost to you. We offer free consultations so we can discuss your legal options and determine if you meet the criteria to pursue legal action if necessary. Our legal team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to talk to you.