Financial assistance stroke victims

Benefits and financial assistance

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Legal and financial support

There are a range of services that provide legal and financial support.

Legal services

Legal Aid provides free information and legal services for eligible people. Over the phone information and referral services are available to everyone.

If decision-making becomes difficult because of disability, there are laws to determine who makes the decisions instead.

Enduring powers of attorney are legal documents that can be made ahead of time to appoint a decision-maker. They have to be made by someone who has legal capacity, meaning they understand what it means. But they ‘endure’ even if and when the person loses capacity to make their own decisions.

If there is no enduring power of attorney, your state or territory can appoint a guardian or administrator. Guardians make lifestyle or personal decisions, and administrators make financial decisions. This is only done where there is a need to do so and when it is in the best interests of the person with the disability.

Financial support

Centrelink can help if you have an illness, injury, disability or carer responsibilities that mean you cannot work, or can only do a limited amount of work. Concession and health care cards make it less expensive when you use certain health care services, or buy prescription medicines. Concession cards also entitle you to discounts on rates and utilities, and on vehicle registration and public transport. Applications are managed by Centrelink, and eligibility will depend on your circumstances.

After a stroke, you may be eligible for an early release of superannuation. You can apply for early release on the grounds of severe financial hardship, or to meet the costs of medical treatment, transport expenses or home and vehicle modification expenses. You may also have disability insurance as part of your superannuation. It helps to get advice on these issues from a financial counsellor or advisor.

Financial counsellors provide free information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty. Financial advisers provide advice and services on financial matters, and will charge a fee.

Health care costs

The Medicare Safety Net provides a higher Medicare benefit for all eligible services for the rest of the calendar year once you reach the relevant threshold. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net works in a similar way, reducing the cost of prescription medicines once the threshold has been reached. Make sure to ask your pharmacist about generic medicines, which will help keep costs down.

Your doctor may suggest a Chronic Disease Management Plan, which entitles you to a number of subsidised sessions with health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists.

Each state has an Aids and Equipment Program that provides people with a permanent or long-term disability with subsidised aids, equipment, home, and vehicle modifications. The Continence Aids Payment Scheme helps eligible people with permanent and severe incontinence with the costs of incontinence products.

People with a severe and permanent disability can also apply to the taxi authority for assistance with the cost of taxi travel.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The NDIS helps Australians under the age of 65 who have a permanent and significant disability to achieve their goals and enjoy an ordinary life. As well as reasonable and necessary funded supports, the NDIS helps people with a disability, their family and carers to access health, education and other government and community services and supports. It is being progressively rolled out across Australia; check the NDIS website to find if it’s available in your area.

Visit the NDIS website at www.ndis.gov.au

For more about how the NDIS works, see our Update on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, or read an Interview with Desney King on her experience of the NDIS.

My Aged Care

My Aged Care is a national website and phone service that can help you navigate the aged care system and find support. This includes help to live independently at home, short term or respite care, and aged care homes. My Aged Care will assess your eligibility over the phone or face-to-face, work with you to develop a support plan, give you information about costs, and help you find services in your area.

Visit the website at www.myagedcare.gov.au, or call 1800 200 422 between 8am and 8pm on weekdays or between 10am and 2pm on Saturdays (closed Sundays and public holidays).

For more information

See our pages on Help to stay at home and Moving into residential care.

Post stroke recovery – financial help?!

Strokes can have devastating effects on someone’s life in various ways; it can change your body, your personality, put huge pressure on relationships and there can be a financial impact. You may need financial help. A stroke might prevent someone from returning back to work or for someone to require carer assistance which comes at a financial cost. At a time where the shock of your world having been turned upside down it’s hard to know who to ask for advice or help and what you’re entitled to.

In this article I will cover a few main benefits, however charities such as the Stroke Association have well advised volunteers who can help you identify what you might be able to apply for or you can contact your local social services for help.

Financial help – Housing benefits

If you are on a low income you may be eligible for financial help with paying all or part of your rent. Housing benefits will be gradually replaced by Universal Credit, so if you make a claim through Universal Credit, any financial help you would receive will come through the Housing Element of Universal Credit. The amount of Housing Benefit you may receive also depends on your personal and financial circumstances.

What is covered?

  • If you rent a property or room from a private landlord, your maximum Housing Benefit will be calculated with the Local Housing Allowance rules.
  • If you live in council accommodation or other social housing, the most Housing Benefit you can normally get is the same as your ‘eligible’ rent

Eligible rent includes:

  • rent for the accommodation
  • Charges for some services, such as lifts, communal laundry facilities or play areas.

Even if it’s included in your rent, you won’t get any Housing Benefit for:

  • water charges
  • charges for heating, hot water, lighting, or cooking
  • payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels

How do I claim?

  • If you are not working then you can claim housing benefit with employment and support allowance, income support or Jobseekers Allowance, call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.
  • If you are claiming pension credit then you can claim housing benefit with this. Call the Pension Service on 0800 991 234.
  • If you are not claiming any of the above than you can get a form for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support from your local council.

Financial help – NHS Low Income Scheme

If you’re on a low income, this scheme could help you pay for all or some of your health costs. The amount you receive will depend on your household income and outgoings. The help you are entitled to is also available to your partner.

You could get financial help towards:

  • NHS prescriptions
  • NHS dental treatment
  • sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • necessary costs of travel to receive NHS treatment

Who can apply: http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/HealthCosts/1136.aspx

How to apply: http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/HealthCosts/1128.aspx

Financial help – Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

What is it? If you need extra help because of an illness, disability or mental health condition you could get Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

To be eligible for a PIP, you must be:

  • be aged 16 to 64
  • need help with everyday tasks or getting around
  • have needed this help for 3 months and expect it to need it for another 9 months
  • usually be living in England, Wales or Scotland when you apply
  • have lived in England, Wales or Scotland for at least 2 years

There are exceptions to these rules if you’re terminally ill or in the armed forces

Financial help – Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax Support (or Reduction) is a local discount on your Council Tax bill. Every council in England has a local scheme for reducing the Council Tax paid by people on low incomes. The amount of help you’ll receive will depend on which part of the country you live in as each scheme is set locally.

How do I apply? Contact your local council for an application form.

These are just a handful of benefits or financial reductions you may be entitled to. Use the links below to help you investigate further.

Useful links

Benefit Calculator: https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

Government UK: https://www.gov.uk/

Citizen’s advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Stroke Association: https://www.stroke.org.uk/

Written by Rachel Dines, Speech and Language Therapist

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Finding Financial Aid for Stroke Care

The cost of stroke care can be steep, especially when the stroke is severe. Fortunately, financial aid is available to help stroke survivors and their families deal with medical bills.

Each year, stroke care costs add up to $43 billion nationwide with another $6 billion spent on informal care given at home.

Be Prepared for Medical Bills

It helps to be prepared, says Nancy Binder, MBA, director of finance at the Drake Center at the University of Cincinnati, in Ohio. She offers these tips for families:

  • Have an up-to-date ID card and insurance card available. Keeping these items on hand will make it easier for you and the stroke treatment center to begin the process of paying for stroke care.
  • Have your paperwork in order. Drawing up a health power-of-attorney, advanced directive, financial power-of-attorney, and related documents while you’re healthy may seem like a chore — but these documents make it much easier for stroke care facilities to make decisions regarding financial aid and help lighten the load on your loved ones as well. Make sure your family knows where to find your paperwork in the event of an emergency.
  • Know what your insurance covers. Binder says one of the biggest problems she sees is when families don’t know understand their insurance coverage. Avoid surprises — learn which services are covered and which are not.
  • Find a financial counselor. Most stroke care facilities have a staff person who serves as a financial counselor. This person can help you with your insurance coverage, give you an estimate of the cost of a treatment plan, and help you find financial aid resources.
  • Ask what the estimated costs are. If your doctor or stroke care facility doesn’t give you an estimate, ask for one early in the treatment process.
  • Ask about financial aid. If you don’t ask about financial aid programs, stroke care facilities may not know you’re in need of assistance.
  • Cooperate in the process. You will be asked to provide a lot of information many people consider personal — proof of residence, proof of income, and so on, but this information is necessary for administrators to complete financial aid applications on your behalf. “Help us help you,” says Binder.

Expenses Stroke Survivors Face

Stroke care expenses differ for each stroke survivor. While some people may have a mild stroke, receive care in the emergency room, spend a few days in the hospital, and then go home, others may spend an average of 25 days in an acute care facility and then require months or years of care and rehabilitation on an outpatient basis, at home, or in a nursing home.

Additionally, the estimated cost of a treatment plan may vary over time. If a stroke survivor does better than expected, costs may go down — but if additional care is needed, the estimate will be revised. Always ask for an new estimate of costs when things change, advises Binder.

Options for Stroke-Care Financial Aid

Just as treatment plans for stroke care differ, so does each individual’s option for financial aid.

The possibilities include:

  • Private insurance
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • Long-term disability coverage
  • Facility charity programs
  • Stroke care clinical trials

There are many programs available to help people who aren’t insured or who are underinsured, but they may not be the same at every facility or in every state, explains Binder. The financial counselor at your loved one’s stroke care center will be familiar with programs that apply to your specific situation — don’t be afraid to ask for help with this process.

By Guest Blogger Staci Blinn, programs coordinator at the National Stroke Association

I work at the National Stroke Association helping design programs to promote stroke prevention and education. I also have been given the gift of working with stroke survivors and caregivers, connecting them with resources, and offering support.

I am routinely amazed by the strength, bravery and resilience that these individuals show. We receive calls, emails and letters every day from survivors looking for more information about stroke and life after stroke. Stroke can touch any aspect of life, and many people find themselves unprepared for the toll a stroke can take on their finances.

When people think about stroke, they largely focus on the effects it has on the mind and body. While post-stroke conditions can be devastating, struggling to make ends meet and an inability to pay for medical care can be just as detrimental to recovery.

The effect on finances is even more noticeable when looking at younger stroke survivors who have not yet retired. The rate of stroke in adults younger than 65 is rising at an alarming rate. This means we have more and more working people facing disability and an inability to work, causing extreme financial stress.

While some people are able to go back to their previous employment or find a new job, others cannot. Some are thrust into unknown territories, unsure of how to proceed. When a stroke survivor is thinking about going back to work, I direct them to our Return-to-Work webpage, which helps them consider many different options and find the choice that is right for them. Many other resources that support stroke survivors can be found online at www.stroke.org.

It is so important for people in this situation to reach out for help and to not give up. People may feel lost and depressed, and they may not know where to turn.

I encourage them to reach out for help. Call an organization such as the National Stroke Association that can point you in the right direction and can recommend places to get assistance.

Know that you are not alone—there are agencies to help you apply for Medicare, Medicaid, or find other insurance options. You can get help applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, or receive help from your state gaining new skills through vocational rehab.

Being thrust into financial distress due to an injury or illness is confusing and frightening. It can seem unfair that circumstances outside of your control are causing such distress. Remember that there are ways to get assistance, and the National Stroke Association is always here to provide information and resources.

Editor’s note: Join Staci and other patient resource advocates during the Allsup True Help® Web Event, True Help Claiming Power to Improve Your Finances, Oct. 20 at noon CST. to register.

Stroke recovery—Medicare can help

Did you know that more than half a million people over the age of 65 suffer a stroke each year? If you’re recovering from a stroke and suffering major side effects, like problems with hearing or vision, paralysis, balance problems, or difficulty walking or moving around in daily life, Medicare covers rehabilitation services to help you regain your normal functions.

Medicare covers medical and rehabilitation services while you’re in a hospital or Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF). It also helps pay for medically-necessary outpatient physical therapy and occupational therapy. If you need rehabilitation after a stroke, visit Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Compare to find and compare rehabilitation facilities in your ZIP code. You can compare facilities based on quality of care, like how often patients get infections or pressure ulcers.

There are certain risk factors that can increase your chances of having a recurring stroke, like smoking and drinking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and bad eating habits. Knowing your risk factors can help prevent a stroke from happening again. You can also prevent 80% of recurring strokes through lifestyle changes and medical interventions. Medicare covers these preventive services that can help you, and in most cases, you’ll pay nothing for these services:

  • Cardiovascular disease screening (includes blood test screening for cholesterol)
  • Cardiovascular disease (behavioral therapy)
  • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
  • Diabetes screenings and self-management training
  • Nutrition therapy services and Obesity screening and counseling
  • Smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling (to stop smoking or using tobacco products)

Suffering a stroke can be scary, and for some the recovery can be life changing. Having the resources you need to take control of your health can help you with your recovery and perhaps prevent another stroke.

Applying for SSDI Benefits After a Stroke

It is important to understand that those who have suffered from a stroke are not only faced with physical challenges. The financial stress can be just as overwhelming. The aftermath of a stroke can leave a family in emotional and financial turmoil.

Fortunately, the condition does not have to wreak financial havoc on a family in the long term. There may be resources available. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for those in need.

Oftentimes, individuals who have suffered from a severe stroke can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits to help make ends meet. If you or someone you know has suffered from a stroke and are unable to work due to the effects the stroke has had on your body, SSDI benefits can be there to help.

Stroke Statistics

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and they are the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Each year, approximately 750,000 people will suffer from a stroke.

The severity of the strokes may vary, but many of these individuals are left unable to work, unable to earn an income and unable to provide for themselves and their families.

The Future is Not Bleak

The good news is that people who are unable to work due to the effects of a stroke do not have to live without an income or medical insurance. Social Security Disability benefits can help offset some of the financial burden caused by this catastrophic event.

The monthly checks that are sent by the Social Security Administration (SSA) can help stroke victims make ends meet and the Medicare benefits can help pay for the ongoing care that is needed by many stroke patients.

Applying for SSDI Benefits after a Stroke

Unfortunately, while a stroke patient may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, it does not mean that his or her initial application for these benefits will be approved by the SSA. In fact, nearly 70 percent of initial disability claims are denied by the SSA.

This is why it is important to consider the services of a qualified attorney when preparing your disability claim.

A Social Security Disability attorney can help you prepare your Social Security Disability application, ensuring that it is presented in the best light possible to the SSA and that the adjudicator reviewing the file fully understands the severe impact that the condition has had on the applicant’s life.

Just remember, even though an attorney can increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits from the SSA, you will still need to wait the 6-month waiting period before your disability benefits can begin.

That does not mean you should not apply immediately for Social Security Disability benefits, but keep in mind that benefits will not begin until six months have passed from the date the stroke occurred. Once the benefits kick in, however, the monthly payments received from the SSA can truly be a lifesaver.

Additional Resources

  • How the Blue Book Can Help You with Your Stroke SSD Claim
  • Stroke (Cerebrovascular Accident) and Social Security Disability

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

Rehabilitation can start in hospital very soon after a stroke. It may continue at a rehabilitation facility or sometimes in an outpatient unit.

Physiotherapy

If you have had a stroke, a physiotherapist should see you as part of your rehabilitation to assess the extent of any physical disability before drawing up a treatment plan.

At first, your physiotherapist will work with you by setting goals to improve your posture and balance. As your condition improves, more demanding long-term goals, such as standing or walking, will be set.

A carer, such as a member of your family, will be encouraged to become involved in your physiotherapy. The physiotherapist can teach both of you some simple exercises you can do at home.

Sometimes, physiotherapy can last months or even years.

The specific abilities that are lost or affected by a stroke depend on the extent of the brain damage and, most importantly, where in the brain the stroke occurred.

Speech therapy

After a stroke, you may have problems with communication, including difficulty speaking and understanding others. A speech pathologist will develop a plan with you to address these challenges where possible.

You may benefit from:

  • practising talking, listening and writing
  • practising using gestures or aides to assist with communication
  • exercising the muscles needed for speech to improve their strength and coordination

Recovery

Recovery after a stroke depends upon many factors including the severity of the stroke and the time it takes to receive medical care. The most rapid recovery occurs in the first 3 months after a stroke. Further recovery is possible, but gains are usually slower and may take years.

Training for carers

A rehabilitation team can help carers and the people they care for learn the skills needed to manage daily life after the cared-for person has had a stroke.

Carers can provide physical, emotional and practical help. They benefit from training that allows them to help communication between the person they care for and other care providers, support groups, and Centrelink.

Training can also assist them in:

  • talking to health professionals about assessments and test results
  • helping to set goals and being involved in treatment decisions
  • joining in therapy sessions
  • encouraging exercise and activities suggested by therapists
  • helping to celebrate progress
  • using a communication book to help a cared-for person remember things (e.g. who they have visited, which therapists they have seen, what they said).

Carers can call StrokeLine to talk to a health professional and get free information and advice: 1800 STROKE (787 653), Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, AEST.

Visit the Stroke Foundation’s rehabilitation website, enableme.

Read more about stroke rehabilitation on the Stroke Foundation website.

Stroke and Social Security Disability

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits After a Stroke

According to national statistics compiled by the Internet Stroke Center, each year, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks.

Whether you’ve experienced your first stroke or are impaired due to multiple attacks, you can potentially qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Strokes most commonly occur in people over the age of retirement, but about one quarter of those affected are under the age of 65.

If you’ve had a stroke prior to retirement age, you must contend with how to get by without income from employment. Benefits through one or both of the SSA’s disability programs may be the answer. If your stroke caused other illnesses, you also may qualify for disability benefits.

There are two forms of disability benefits for people who have experienced a stroke. Medically qualifying for each will be the same, although each has its own technical qualifications.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) both pay benefits on a monthly basis. You may meet the eligibility criteria for each program, if your stroke results in long-term or permanent impairments that prevent you from earning a gainful living.

The Financial Costs of a Stroke

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that strokes cost $34 billion per year in the U.S. This grand total includes medical procedures, healthcare services, prescription medications, and lost work hours for all adults affected annually.

When it comes to your individual direct costs, you’re potentially looking at diagnosis and initial treatment expenses as well as costs associated with long-term or permanent deficits.

A 2014 study published by the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases: The Official Journal of the National Stroke Association reports the average cost of a hospital stay for a stroke patient ranges from $20,396 to $43,652.

The type of stroke affects initial diagnosis and treatments costs. Many patients also have concurrent medical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, or traumatic brain injury.

These other conditions drive hospitalization costs up and affect ongoing medical expenses as well. The costs of living with stroke-related deficits can be steep. In fact, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center estimates the lifetime costs of a stroke at $60,000.

Costs may include:

  • Medications
  • Physical
  • Occupational or speech and audiology therapy.
  • Modifying your home or purchasing mobility assistance or other adaptive-living devices or equipment.

Some patients may also require home health or residential nursing facility care.

Disability benefits through either or both of the SSA’s programs can help you pay your everyday living expenses. For many applicants, qualifying for disability also means qualifying for Medicare and/or Medicaid, which means you’ll have the coverage necessary to pay your medical and healthcare bills.

Medically Qualifying for Benefits After a Stroke

The SSA considers strokes to be disabling, but only under certain circumstances. Specifically, your stroke must cause lasting impairment(s). By this, the SSA means stroke-related limitations must have been present or must be expected to last for at least 12 months.

Additionally, your stroke either meet a disability listing in the Blue Book or be able to qualify through other reviews that look at your employability given your stroke-related deficits.

Stroke disability applications are reviewed under the disability listing for Central Nervous System Vascular Event, which appears in the Blue Book under Section 11.04.

Section 11.04 Requires:

  • Your ability to speak or write is severely impaired or lost entirely
  • OR

  • You have pronounced issues with controlling or coordinating movements with at least two extremities (arms or legs)

Even if you’re unable to qualify under Section 11.04, there may be other disability listings under which you can get approved:

  • Sections 2.02, 2.03, or 2.04 – If your vision is affected
  • Section 2.10 – if you’ve suffered hearing loss

A severe stroke can also cause personality changes, intellectual deficits, and disorders like dementia. If you’ve suffered cognitive losses or permanent brain damage, you may be able meet one of the listings in Section 12.00 of the Blue Book, which covers mental disorders.

Your doctor can help you interpret Blue Book requirements. He or she can also help you understand whether you’ll qualify under a disability listing or if you’ll need to go through additional reviews.

Qualifying for Benefits without Meeting a Disability Listing

If your stroke does not qualify under a listing but still prevents you from working, you may get approved for disability under a “medical vocational allowance.”

The SSA will require you and your doctor to complete “functional report” questionnaires that detail all of your medical conditions, symptoms, treatments, and the limitations you face on a daily basis. These functional reports are an essential component of the “residual functional capacity” analysis or RFC.

Through an RFC, the SSA considers your age, job training and skills, formal education, and your all of your medical conditions in addition to your functional limitations.

If all these factors combined show you cannot work in ANY job for which you’re otherwise qualified, then the SSA can grant you medical vocational allowance.

Let’s say, for example, you worked in a manufacturing position that required the use of both arms prior to your stroke. Your left arm is paralyzed or limited severely after your stroke but all your other abilities are otherwise unaffected.

You can’t go back to your manufacturing job, but the SSA also needs to know if you could find a different job in which the loss of your left arm wouldn’t prevent you from performing essential job duties.

If you have the skills to work in an office job, then the SSA would deny you benefits believing you should be able to find gainful employment elsewhere.

Now let’s say, for example, your stroke not only left you without the use of your left arm but with some cognitive deficits that make it difficult to concentrate, keep up with a standard work pace, or to complete complex tasks.

In a case this, even if you cannot qualify under a disability listing, you may qualify under a medical vocational allowance.

How to Apply for Disability Benefits After a Stroke

Your doctor can help you gather evidence to support your disability claim. Friends or family members can assist as well. A Social Security advocate or attorney can be an invaluable resource, particularly if you need to qualify through an RFC analysis or if you’re denied benefits initially and need to file an appeal.

Just keep in mind that medical evidence is a cornerstone of your disability claim. Records may vary, based on the kind of stroke you suffered and the lasting effects you experience.

The SSA generally needs to see at least the following:

  • Results of the tests run to diagnose your stroke
  • Hospital stay records, including emergency room and/or inpatient records
  • Surgical notes from any operations you’ve undergone
  • Physical exam and progress notes from your primary care doctor or neurologist, documenting long-term or permanent losses in coordination, speech, etc.
  • Records from physical, occupational, speech, or other therapy sessions
  • Prescription medications you take or have taken and their effects
  • A detailed reporting, including long-term prognosis, from your primary care physician or neurologist

Before you apply for benefits however, you should know that your application may be delayed. This is because the SSA knows many stroke patients can see significant improvements in their abilities after just a few months, even if they had severe deficits immediately following their stroke.

For this reason, the SSA will often wait to review claims for at least three months from the date of the stroke.

Even if the review is delayed, you can apply now and continue to send in additional medical evidence to support your claim for benefits. Until a disability examiner is assigned to your case, you should submit your updated medical records to the local SSA office.

After you receive notice that a disability examiner has been assigned, you can send additional records directly to him or her.

Contact Information

When you’re ready to apply, you have options. You can complete your application at the local office, online (for SSDI), and in some cases, even over the telephone.

  • Call 1-800-772-1213 to explore your options further
  • Visit the SSA’s website to start your SSDI application
  • Or go to your local SSA office to apply for SSI and/or SSDI.
  • If you have specific questions regarding your SSDI case, you can ask a question in our forum
  • Before applying, be sure to read our article on tips for success when applying after a stroke.

Talk to a Social Security Attorney Today

You have a lot to gain from a successful Social Security disability claim. A successful claim wouldn’t just mean consistent financial support for your ailment—it would also grant you the kind of stability that you may have been missing out on for years now.

Unfortunately, winning a claim isn’t a cakewalk, which is why you should consider consulting a Social Security disability attorney or advocate. Your attorney will use his or her knowledge and experience to fight on your behalf and help you get the benefits you need—and you don’t even need to pay your lawyer unless you win.

A successful Social Security claim could be life-changing, so don’t wait to get an evaluation and talk to a Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible.

Is financial assistance available to people with brain injury and their families?

Federal Benefits & Programs

SSI or Supplemental Security Income helps people with disabilities who have little or no income. It provides cash to help pay for food, clothing and a place to live. It is a federal government program, and you can find out if you are eligible for SSI by completing an online screening tool in just a few minutes. To apply for SSI benefits, call the Social Security Administration (SSA) at (800) 772-1213 to make an appointment for help applying for benefits, either on the phone or at a local Social Security office. Without an appointment, you may have a long wait to be helped.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to people who worked and paid into Social Security before a disabling injury, or to the person’s spouse or children. SSDI pays cash to those who meet the eligibility requirements and are unable to work for a year or longer because of a disability.

You can apply for SSDI benefits online or call the Social Security Administration (SSA) at (800) 772-1213 to make an appointment for help applying for benefits, either on the phone or at a local Social Security office. Without an appointment, you may have a long wait to be helped. Be sure to get a list of the information you will need to complete the application so you can do it in one visit.
The Government Benefits website offers a totally free, easy-to-use and completely confidential way to find out government benefit programs.

State Cash Financial Aid

Many states and local governments offer cash assistance programs to persons with disabilities and to military veterans. Eligibility for and benefits from these programs vary widely and the programs have different names in each state. For example, in New Hampshire, cash assistance programs for the disabled, blind & seniors is called a SSP (State Supplemental Program), while Massachusetts offers an Emergency Aid to Elderly, Disabled and Children program. Contact your state Brain Injury Association for more information.

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