Financial Help for People With Disabilities

One in four American adults – 61 million— live with a disability. In addition to the limitations on movement, vision, cognition, hearing, or independent living this imposes, there is a financial impact, often severe.

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The solutions may be as simple as learning options about how to overcome credit card debt or using a nonprofit debt management program, which consolidates your bills and lowers your interest rates. But you may require different solutions.

This page contains information on many programs designed to assist people who have disabilities.

Financial Programs for People with Disabilities

Sources of financial assistance for people who have disabilities include state and federal government as well as nonprofit organizations. In this section are some of the more prominent ones, but others will be discussed later in the article.

ABLE Savings Accounts

ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) savings accounts are tax-advantaged accounts for people who have disabilities and their families. Contributions can be made by the account owner, family, friends, or a special needs trust. Income received is not taxable, and the money can be used for education, food, housing, transportation, job training, assistive technology and health care.


Medicaid provides health care coverage to people with disabilities who are below certain income caps. Each state has different rules about eligibility and how to apply. You can learn more about Medicaid through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is emergency health insurance for those who can’t work because of a disability and have not paid into the Social Security system. A doctor’s written statement may help an application. There are several forms to fill out, and it may be helpful to hire a disability lawyer to receive the benefits.

Supplemental Security Income Disability Program

Supplemental Security Income is based on financial need. Overseen by Social Security, it’s designed to help people who are elderly or have disabilities and little or no income. SSI pays for expenses like food, clothing, and shelter. Participants get monthly checks. Payment amounts vary by state and individual situations.

VA Disability Benefits

Veterans with disabilities resulting from military service qualify for tax-free monthly Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefit payments. The VA ranks disability level from 10% to 100%. In 2024, the rate was $171.23 a month for 10% disability and $3,785.85 for 100% disability and no dependents. Rates change depending on disability rating and number of dependents. The VA disability calculator can help you determine your benefit amount.

Veterans who have disabilities can also qualify for the Home Improvements and Structural Alteration (HISA) Grant. The grant provides money to make improvements and structural alterations to homes to accommodate a disability.

Financial Help for Veterans with Disabilities

About 45% of veterans have health care coverage through the VA alone or in combination with private insurance, public coverage or Tricare, the health care program for active-duty service members and their families, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The unemployment rate for veterans with disabilities is 5.1%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor – about double the 2.6% rate of veterans with no disability.

About 27% of veterans have a disability, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates more than 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Nearly 13% of the homeless adult population are veterans, while veterans make up just 7% of the general population. Most homeless veterans have medical and mental issues and difficulty accessing care or paying for it, the survey said.

VA Programs and Benefits for Veterans with Disabilities

The VA offers programs and benefits specifically for veterans with disabilities, including:

  • Disability compensation: Using VA disability benefits.
  • Automobile Allowance: Help adapting cars to meet the needs of the disability.
  • Clothing Allowance: Annual stiped for those with unique clothing needs.
  • Housing Grants: Money for housing needs.
  • Veterans Insurance: Life insurance for those given a VA rating for a service-connected disability. Totally veterans with disabilities are eligible for free premiums and can buy additional insurance.
  • Mortgage Life Insurance: Protects veterans with disabilities who have been approved for a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant
  • Job Training: Training to help gain employment.
  • Education Assistance: Education benefits for those seeking a degree or other eligible education and training.
  • Dependents’ Educational Assistant: Helps survivors’ dependents earn a degree or receive training.

VA Programs for All Veterans

The VA also offers programs for all veterans, including:

  • Caregiver Support: Support and services for family caregivers of veterans.
  • GI Bill: Education training and assistance for veterans.
  • Health Benefits: Those who have served in any branch of the military qualify for VA health care benefits.
  • Patient Care: Hospitalization, prescriptions and medical care for veterans and active military at 1,233 VA hospitals or health care centers in America.
  • Pension Benefits: Tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime veterans with at least 90 days of active-duty service.
  • Vet Centers: Provides counseling, outreach, and referral services to veterans.
  • Free Financial Counseling: Available from nonprofit debt management agencies for veterans and in-service military personnel.

Other Agencies Available to Veterans with Disabilities

Other agencies provide financial help to veterans with disabilities. Some are:

Lifeline: A government program that helps pay for veterans’ phone services. Provides veterans a list of prescription resources that help pay and manage prescription refills.

National Association of American Veterans Emergency Assistance: Refers veterans and their families to financial assistance services.

USACares Emergency America’s Heroes: Helps post 9/11 veterans pay essential bills, including food and utilities, average grant is $650.

American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance: Grants for families of eligible veterans with minor children for shelter, food, utilities, and health care.

Vantage Mobility International Operation Independence: Eligible veterans with disabilities can get a grant to help pay for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

Luke’s Wings: Buys plane tickets, plans trips, for families of veterans with disabilities so they can visit the veteran during hospitalization and rehabilitation.

Recycled Rides: Provides refurbished vehicles to qualifying veterans at no cost.

Wounded Warrior Project: Provides programs and resources for veterans with disabilities, in-service military personnel and their families and caregivers at no cost.

Financial Help for Children with Disabilities

There are several government benefits and nonprofit resources that provide financial assistance for children with disabilities, including the SSI program, Medicaid, Medicaid waivers, tax deductions, scholarships and grants.

SSI for Children with Disabilities

Supplemental Security Income is for children under 18 who meet the Social Security Administration definition of disabled. Children get the same SSI benefit as disabled adults if the family’s income doesn’t exceed limits. The federal maximum monthly payment increases yearly with cost of living. In 2024, it is $943 a month for an individual, $1,415 for a couple, although the amount may be lower depending on the person’s income, family income and other factors. Some states have higher rates.

Medicaid and Medicaid Waivers for Children with Disabilities

Medicaid provides money for children with disabilities who need a certain level of care if their family has a limited income. In most states, SSI qualification means the child also qualifies for Medicaid. A Medicaid waiver is available in 44 states if family income is too high. Waiver states (and Washington, D.C.) count the child’s income, rather than the family’s, to allow the waiver, sometimes called a “TEFRA waiver,” after the 1982 law that made it possible. What different states allow under the waiver varies. Visit to see what’s available in your state.

Medicare for Adult Children with Disabilities

Adult children with disabilities who are under the care of a parent or guardian may also qualify for Medicare, the program that provides health care for those over 65. An adult child with a disability who is younger than the qualifying age and being cared for by a parent or guardian qualifies if they have kidney disease that requires a transplant or maintenance dialysis, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Tax Deductions for Children with Disabilities

There are several tax credits and deductions for taxpayers with children with disabilities of any age.

A tax credit lowers the amount of taxes paid; a deduction reduces taxable income.

The Internal Revenue Service defines a dependent child as permanently and totally disabled, who cannot engage in substantial gainful activity. The IRS determines who qualifies, and requires a doctor’s determination, including that the condition is expected to last for at least a year, or can lead to death.

Deductions can be taken for home improvements to accommodate a disability, medication, medical care-related trips and more.

Tax credits are:

  • Dependent with a Disability Working at a Sheltered Workshop: Family’s gross income can’t include the child’s workshop pay.
  • Adoption Credit: For parents who adopt a child with special needs.
  • EITC for Parents of Children with Disabilities: For parents who care for a permanently and totally disabled child (of any age) in the home.
  • Child or Dependent Care Credit: For those who hire a home care aide.

Grants for Children with Disabilities

Many nonprofit organizations offer financial help for children with disabilities that may include paying for equipment, medical visits, care and more. The best way to find a grant that fits your situation is to look online for grants for children with disabilities, or for a specific disability.

Some national organizations that offer grants:

Easter Seals: Provides services, resources; website has a form to find local services.

The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project: Connects families with resources and provides financial assistance for medical-related travel and more.

The Federation for Children with Special Needs: Provides information, resources, assistance.

Parker’s Purpose Foundation Assistance: Provides grants up to $1,000 for families in immediate financial need because of medical expenses for child with a life-threatening illness or disability. Ohio residents get priority.

First Hand Foundation: Financial help for immediate need medical expenses.

Friends of Disabled Adults and Children: FODAC provides and refurbishes equipment such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, shower supports and more for people with disabilities.

Disabled Children’s Relief Fund: The Disabled Children Relief Fund provides cash grants for disabled children, with preference given to families who lack health insurance. It also offers grants for assistive devices, equipment, and rehabilitative services.

Giving Angels Foundation: The Giving Angels Foundation helps special needs children from lower-income families with a physical disability aged 21 years or younger throughout the United States. The organization has a $50,000 maximum annual income threshold.

Maggie Welby Foundation: The Maggie Welby Foundation provides financial assistance for children in need, families in need and organizations benefiting children.

Disabled Children’s Fund: DCF brings medical treatment, mobility devices and physical therapy programs to disabled children in need worldwide. This includes assisting American military families fund items not covered by taxpayer dollars.

Oracle Health Foundation: OHF offers grants for life-saving organ transplants, custom wheelchairs for children, travel expenses to help families stay together during treatment, physical therapy and more.

United Health Care Children’s Foundation: UHCCF provides medical grants to children across the United States to help with medical expenses not covered, or not fully covered, by a family’s commercial health insurance.

Variety, The Children’s Charity: Variety’s Freedom Program provides vital life-changing equipment and services for mobility, independence and social inclusion to individual children and children’s organizations. Grants cover manual and powered wheelchairs, adaptive bicycles and tricycles, assistance animals, hoists,  lifts and more.

Wheel to Walk Foundation: Wheel to Walk helps children with disabilities younger than 21 obtain medical and adaptive equipment or therapy services not provided by insurance.

Wheelchairs 4 Kids: Wheelchairs 4 Kids helps acquire medical equipment home and vehicle modifications that may otherwise be out of a family’s financial reach and also donates gently used items to facilities where they can be used to benefit multiple children.

Government Programs for Children with Disabilities

Other government programs that provide benefits for families with children with disabilities include:

Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities

While 45% of Americans over 25 who do not have a disability have at least an associate degree, only 25% of those with a disability do. About 19% of college students have a disability, ranging from learning challenges to mental health to mobility challenges.

Some of reasons students with disabilities don’t pursue higher education are that they don’t feel they’ll have a good support system, or they’re not encouraged to go to college. The biggest barrier, however, is finances. College is often more expensive for students with a disability, sometimes involving increased housing, technology, transportation costs and more. If the student comes from a low-income family, that increases the challenge. The good news is that there are many scholarships and other financial services available to students with disabilities.

Some scholarship resources for students with disabilities are:

Student Loan Forgiveness for Persons with Disabilities

total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge waives repayment of William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and Federal Perkins loans, as well as waives completing a TEACH Grant service obligation. A TPD discharge requires application and documentation.

It’s a little more complicated for private student loans. Some lenders offer allow the loan obligations to be waived permanently, but others have a review process for those in difficult financial circumstances. It’s also important to know that the IRS treats forgiven debt as taxable income.

Financial Assistance for Older Adults with Disabilities

There are many government benefits, as well as nonprofit resources, that offer financial help for seniors with disabilities. Many programs for seniors that help provide meals, housing, health care and financial assistance aren’t specifically for seniors with disabilities but can provide needed help to those with one.

Benefits for seniors with disabilities include:

  • Supplemental Security Income: SSI is federally funded financial assistance for those over 65, as well as people younger than 65 who have mental or physical disabilities. It provides monthly payments for food, clothes, and shelter. The base monthly federal amount varies depending on living situation and income. SSI is for individuals who have not paid into the Social Security system through employment, or as a supplement to Social Security Disability or Retirement Benefits for individuals whose benefits don’t meet basic needs. Those who qualify for SSI also automatically qualify for SNAP food benefits and Medicaid.
  • Medicaid: Provides medical coverage for those over 65 who are under a certain income level, or those who have a severe medical or physical impairment, even if they’re under 65. People who get Medicaid may also get Medicare, which is general health coverage for those over 65.
  • National Council on Aging Benefits Checkup: Provides benefits information for seniors both with and without disabilities.
  • Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE): Provides Medicaid and Medicare-covered home care for those over 55, allowing them to stay in their homes. It’s free for Medicaid patients, fee-based for those on Medicare.
  • Area Agencies on Aging: Designated agencies on aging coordinate Meals on Wheels deliveries, provide resources and help for seniors, as well as classes and activities.
  • Eldercare Locator: The U.S. Administration on Aging webpage connects seniors to resources in their community, including housing, transportation, health care, financial help and more.

Disability Grants

Grants for people with disabilities – financial help that doesn’t have to be repaid – are available from both the federal government and private organizations. They all require filling out an application, and some require a written proposal.

Eligibility requirements are found on the website of the organization offering the grant. If you can’t find guidelines, or have questions, contact the organization to make sure you understand what’s involved.

Some available grants are:

  • Housing: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers programs funded by grants that assist people with disabilities in getting housing vouchers, rental assistance, buying a home and making homes accessible. For information, visit the HUD website or contact your state’s housing authority or agency. The Housing Choice Voucher can help recipients buy a home or pay for monthly housing expenses.
  • Education: Private foundations offer grants from $1,000 to $25,000 for individuals with mental, physical, or sensorial disabilities. To find the foundations that don’t have websites, visit Foundation Center.
  • Adaptive Grants: Multiple private organizations provide specific grants available that allow those with disabilities to adapt homes or technology, or expand resources. lists organizations that provide grants for adaptive vehicle and modification, rehabilitation and therapy, assistive technology, adaptive sports equipment and more.
  • Starting A Business: The federal government offers grants for people with disabilities starting a business. Visit
  • Personal Needs: Local community agencies offer grants for people with disabilities who need help to pay household expenses. Local social service programs can provide money for groceries, utilities, transportation, as well as vocational rehabilitation. Check with your town or city hall, or state Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Government Cash Grants: State and federal governments offer grants for veterans, children, low-income people, families with newborns and others. Proof of disability, type of need and household income must be provided to apply. The grants pay for utilities, transportation, education and more. Check with your town or city hall, or state Department of Health and Human Services.

Low-Interest Loans for People with Disabilities

There are several low-interest loan programs for people with disabilities – all of them much better than payday loans, car title loans and same-day disability loans, which often have crippling interest rates that make a bad financial situation much worse.

Government and nonprofit disability loans will help, not hurt, your situation. They can be used for everyday needs and expenses of individuals who are physically or mentally disabled or take care of someone who is.

Check or for a directory of assistance programs.

Government disability loans, unlike other government disability assistance, must be paid back. Unlike same-day disability loans, government disability loans have strict approval criteria. Government disability loans also have better interest rates, repayment terms and customer service. Eligibility could be affected by whether you already receive government assistance.

U.S. Department of Agriculture housing repair loans can pay to modify a home to accommodate a disability. There are income and residency requirements, and the applicant must show they cannot get credit elsewhere. The maximum loan is $20,000 over a 20-year payoff at 1% interest; grants are available for those in need 62 or older at a maximum of $7,500. To apply, contact a USDA home loan specialist in your state. To see if your live in an eligible area, visit the USDA address check page.

Your local bank or credit union may also be a loan resource. Government and nonprofit organizations partner with lenders to provide services for veterans, low-income families and those with disabilities.

National Charities and Organizations that Help People with Disabilities

Aside from government programs, there are numerous national charities and organizations that offer help to people with disabilities, including advocating for them and providing legal resources.

Some of them are:

Federal Agencies that Help People with Disabilities

Many government agencies can help people with disabilities.

Some are:

A Note About Unemployment Rate and People with Disabilities

The employment rate for people with disabilities who are able to work has risen steadily since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began keeping track in 2008. In 2023, 40.3% of Americans between the ages of 16 and 64 with a disability were employed compared (22.5% for those 16 and up) with 77.7% of Americans without a disability were employed.

The BLS reports:

  • The unemployment rate for those between 16 and 64 in the labor force with a disability was 8.3% in February 2024; the unemployment rate for those without a disability was 4.1%.
  • Persons with a disability are more likely to be employed part-time because of business climate (rather than choice) or self-employed than those with no disability.
  • Persons with a disability are more likely to work in service occupations, production, transportation, and materials moving, and less likely to work in management, professional, and related occupations.

The BLS defines a disability as:

  • Deaf or serious difficulty hearing; blind or serious difficulty seeing even with glasses

As well as serious difficulty:

  • Concentrating, remembering, making decisions because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition
  • Walking or climbing stairs
  • Dressing or bathing
  • Doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition

Speak with a Professional

While there are plenty of programs for Americans with disabilities that offer financial assistance, benefits, and resources, sometimes they’re not enough or difficult to access. If you can’t get benefits that you’re eligible for, you may want to speak with a disability lawyer, Social Security lawyer or other disability advocate. A disability lawyer or other disability advocate will assess your situation for free, and only charge you if they take on your case.

If you need financial assistance, a nonprofit credit counselor can help you create a budget and review your finances. Many people who have trouble making ends meet max out their credit cards, and a nonprofit credit counselor, at no cost, can help sort out the best debt-relief options for your situation. You may qualify for a nonprofit debt management program that consolidates your bills and lowers your interest rates, providing another resource that may help if you’re living with a disability.

About The Author

Pat McManamon

Pat McManamon has been a journalist for more than 25 years. His experience has mainly been in sports, but the world of athletics requires knowledge of business and economics. He also can balance a checkbook and keep track of investments with Quicken quite adeptly. McManamon’s experience includes covering the NFL for ESPN, LeBron James for the Akron Beacon Journal and AOL Fanhouse, and the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes for the Palm Beach Post.


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