We provide Government Benefit Assessments to help individuals identify which benefits they are eligible for, the evidence needed for a successful application, how to build a strong, thorough application with assessments and school records, and how to maximize benefits already received. Frequently, families are not aware that they are eligible for important and impactful benefits – we provide education and analysis to lock down options and start forward movement.
Individuals with disabilities should evaluate whether they are eligible for a variety of benefits, typically upon attaining age 18. Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is a government cash benefit that is available to those who are at least 18 years of age, have a disability, and own less than $2,000 in assets. In Illinois, the SSI amount can be up to $841 per month (2022). If SSI is approved, the individual will also be approved automatically for Medicaid. Medicaid benefits cover health insurance, residential living, waiver benefits, vocational services, day programs, personal service workers, prescription drugs and durable medical equipment. It is important to apply for these benefits as soon as possible upon attaining age 18, provided that appropriate evidence, test results and other information has been gathered (sometimes in coordination with school – please see our “Transition Planning” practice area for more information). SSI and Medicaid are considered “gateway” benefits to more the permanent and generous benefits – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicare.
SSDI is an entitlement program that is typically available to any person who has paid into the Social Security system, regardless of that person’s current income and assets. Persons with disabilities can earn into this program with reduced work credit requirements. For example, it is entirely possible for a person to earn $7,000 annually and become eligible for SSDI, provided certain criteria and timeframes are met. Once receiving SSDI, a person can then become eligible for Medicare after two years.
If a disabled person’s parent begins drawing on his or her Social Security benefits, then the disabled person’s benefits can increased even more – we refer to this as the “force multiplier” of benefits. SSA refers to an individual who is eligible for these various increases as a “Disabled Adult Child” or “DAC”.
Informed parents can help their adult children achieve the security that these various benefits provide with the knowledge and careful planning a Government Benefits Assessment.