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Financial Assistance and Support Services for People with Disabilities

Explore a wide range of programs and tools to help with housing, taxes, medical bills, service and emotional support animals, and more.

How Do I Get Help With My Medical Bills?

Learn how to find help from the government with medical bills and insurance options.

Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program)

What help is available?

Medicaid and CHIP help with medical bills for kids whose families can't afford health insurance or can't get it through work. Learn more about eligibility and how to sign up for Medicaid and CHIP.

Social Security and Medicare

What help is available?

Local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices help those on Social Security and Medicare find help. People over 65, people with disabilities under 65, and people with end-stage kidney disease are eligible for Medicare. Learn more about how to apply for Medicare.

Medicaid for Adults

What help is available?

You may qualify for Medicaid, a joint federal/state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income.

Am I eligible?

Each state has different rules about eligibility and applying for Medicaid for adults. Learn more about eligibility.

How do I apply?

Each state has different application requirements for Medicaid for adults. Call your state Medicaid program to see if you qualify and to learn how to apply.

Health Insurance Through the Health Insurance Marketplace

What help is available?

HealthCare.gov helps you find insurance options, compare care, learn about preventive services, and more. If your employer does not offer insurance, you're self-employed, or you want to buy your own insurance, you can get it through the Marketplace. The Health Insurance Marketplace offers health, vision, and dental insurance for you and your family.

Am I eligible?

Everyone is eligible for health insurance through the Marketplace. You may also qualify for subsidies to help pay your premiums. If you’ve experienced a life change like childbirth or loss of a job, you may be able to make changes to your insurance in a Special Enrollment Period.

How do I apply?

How you apply for a plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace depends on what plan you choose. Learn more about applying.

How do I complain or where do I call for extra help?

Visit the Health Insurance Marketplace's top questions section for more help with finding or applying for health care. To file a complaint, call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

Is there anything else I need to know?

If you need more help getting or paying for medical care, try these resources:

If you are uninsured or underinsured and must seek emergency medical treatment:

  • The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) guarantees you can get an emergency medical evaluation even if you can't pay. Hospitals that get Medicare funding and provide emergency services must evaluate anyone who requests treatment. If your exam confirms that you have an emergency, including labor, they must stabilize you.

Housing Resources for People with Disabilities

A variety of federal, state, and local housing programs can help you:

  • Find and afford a place to live

  • Modify an existing home for disabilities, or

  • Help you develop skills to live independently

Each program has its own eligibility rules and application process.

Rental Housing

People with disabilities are eligible for all:

Learn about eligibility, how to apply, and more for each of these programs.

  • You may also be eligible for a Non-Elderly Disabled (NED) Voucher. NED vouchers help people who are not seniors and have a disability get housing in a development set aside for seniors.

Homeownership

Independent Living Skills

Contact your state to find out how its department of human services or disability office may be able to assist with:

  • Modifications

  • Housing counseling

  • Locating rental housing

  • Independent living skills

How do I complain?

You may need things like ramps, grab bars, or service animals. Housing providers cannot deny someone housing because of a disability. And they cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations for a tenant with a disability. Learn more about disability rights in housing and how to file a complaint if you feel that you’ve been a victim of housing discrimination.

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

Service animals are trained to complete work and tasks for the specific, individual needs of people with disabilities. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), dogs may qualify as service animals. In some cases, the ADA also recognizes miniature horses as service animals.

Unlike service animals, emotional support animals do not typically perform specific tasks. Instead, they serve as companions to people with disabilities. They are not considered service animals under the ADA, but some state and local governments permit people to take them into public places.

Apply for a Service Animal

If you are thinking about getting a service animal, first contact your medical provider. Find out if your disability is covered under the ADA and whether you need a service animal. Your doctor can help provide medical documentation and find a training program. You can also explore a list of service animal programs online. Before deciding on a program, make sure you research each organization carefully.     

Learn What Service Animals Do

Common tasks include:

  • Guiding a person who is blind 

  • Alerting someone who is deaf 

  • Aiding and protecting a person who is having a seizure 

  • Alerting a person with diabetes of high or low blood sugar 

  • Assisting someone in a wheelchair 

  • Calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack   

Learn Your Rights with Service and Emotional Support Animals

Housing - By law, housing providers must allow the use of service or emotional support animals by people with disabilities. This ruling was enacted as part of the Fair Housing Act. Find out the housing requirements related to service and emotional support animals.

Public Spaces and Businesses - According to the ADA, service animals may go with people with disabilities in places where the public can go. This law applies to state and local governments, businesses, and nonprofits that serve the public. Under certain state and local government laws, you may bring emotional support animals into public places. Learn what questions about your service animal a business is legally allowed to ask. These questions involve rules about dealing with service animals, their handlers, and more.

Travel - The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) allows people with disabilities to travel with a service animal or emotional support animal. You may need documentation to travel with an emotional support animal or service animal for a mental disability.

Learn About Service and Emotional Support Animals for Veterans

The VA provides guide dogs for blind or visually impaired veterans. It also offers service dogs for veterans with other disabilities. Benefits include veterinary care and equipment through VA Prosthetics and Sensory Aids. Learn more about guide and service dogs for veterans

Currently, the VA does not provide service dogs for veterans with mental disorders, such as PTSD. However, research is underway to see if dogs can help treat PTSD and its symptoms. Get information on service dogs, emotional support dogs, and issues related to PTSD.

ABLE Savings Accounts for People with Disabilities

If you have a significant disability, you may be eligible to open a tax-free Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) savings account. It can help you pay for education, housing, health, and other qualified disability expenses.

Who Is Eligible for an ABLE Account? 

  • To be the designated beneficiary (owner) of the account, you must be blind or have a medical disability which occurred before the age of 26.

  • You may open only one ABLE account.

  • You don’t have to open an account in the state where you live. ABLE accounts are not currently available in every state. However, you can open one in any state with an active ABLE program. Find out which state has the best program for you.

Contributing Funds Toward an ABLE Account

Find out who can contribute to or benefit from an ABLE account. Or, learn about how recently enacted tax laws and regulations apply to ABLE Savings accounts.

  • The maximum annual contribution limit for your account is $15,000.

  • You can exclude taxes on earnings and distributions (withdrawals) from the account. These deductions can help you pay for qualified disability expenses. 

Keep in mind, the new tax law has made several changes to ABLE accounts:

  • If you work, you can contribute your compensation toward your account along with the $15,000 limit. But, this additional contribution cannot be above the income poverty line for a one-person household.

  • You may claim the Saver’s Credit for your contributions to your ABLE account.

  • Families can transfer or rollover funds from a 529 plan to an ABLE account. The account can benefit the account holder or another family member. This counts toward the $15,000 annual contribution limit.

More Important ABLE Account Information

Find out more important things to know about ABLE accounts, including:

  • Where you can open an ABLE account

  • Who can contribute to your account

  • Examples of qualified disability expenses

  • How other federal programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, can affect your account. 

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Last Updated: March 16, 2021

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