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Help- My SSA Disability does not pay my bills!

With the rising cost of living if you are disabled and unable to work you may be depending on a disability check each month to pay your bills and to make ends meet. On our disability forum we frequently have questions from recipients who want to subsidize their disability payments with a part-time job or need to know how to get more money.

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of good solutions. If you choose to work and you are receiving SSI benefits you will reduce your payment amount each month. If you are receiving SSDI benefits you could trigger a trial work month and eventually lose your benefits. Are there any other options available? This blog will address this question.

Options to increase in your income:

1.    Cut your living expenses

Most likely if you are on disability you have already taken this step, but I am often surprised to find those few individuals who say they are in financial distress but still buy the morning latte from Starbucks or have a cellular phone. If you have to cut costs it is time to get serious. Eliminate all extra expenses: turn off the cable, do not eat out, buy clothes from the resale shop and stop smoking or drinking.

2.    Investigate other services which may be available

There are government services which are available, but it may take a bit of work to find them. If you are getting SSI, for instance, you should receive Medicaid (in most states) at the time of your approval. You also may qualify for food stamps. Many SSI recipients can also contact the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for information about low income rent, privately owned subsidized housing, and public housing through affordable apartments for low-income families.

3.    Talk to churches in your area

Many churches have programs which help those who are faced with financial challenges. You may be required to complete an application, but many churches provide clothing, food and special assistance for the holidays.

4.    Talk to your family

If you had to wait two years to get your SSA disability benefits you may have already exhausted the kindness and generosity of your family or friends but you may have a family member who is will to help you. Is there anyone you could provide a service for? For instance, do you have a cousin who has a small child? Maybe she needs help. If you are physically able, she might be willing to provide shelter, food or money for several hours of childcare each week. Keep in mind that if you are able to provide too much help than the SSA may not consider you disabled.

Some claimants have asked if it is possible to get more disability money. The SSA does not pay any type of partial disability payments. This means if you were determined disabled by the SSA they gave you the maximum amount of benefits you were entitled to receive. If your condition deteriorates you will not be entitled to any more money.

What if you are getting less than your full SSI payment of $698 (the maximum federal benefit rate per individual)? Then some factor is lowering your payment. For instance, your SSI payments may have been reduced if you are living with someone providing food and shelter.