There are many government benefits available to individuals with special needs, and they vary significantly from state to state. Some of the major programs are:
- Medicaid, which provides basic medical care to low-income individuals. Most states also have “waiver” Medicaid programs covering residential, day care, career, and other services.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides funds for food and shelter to individuals with disabilities. To qualify, a person must have less than $2,000 in “countable assets.”
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which requires that participants have been unable to work for at least a year due to their disability. Benefits are based on the individual’s income history and the number of quarters they have worked and contributed to the program.
- Disabled Adult Child (DAC), which requires a determination that the onset of the participant’s disability occurred before age 22, that the person is unmarried, and that the participant has a parent who has a disability, is retired or deceased and who qualifies for Social Security him/herself.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps), which has eligibility guidelines similar to SSI.
- Section 8 Housing, which subsidizes residential rents for families for low-income families, which may include those with special needs. Eligibility is based on a sliding scale that considers income and family size.