Staying afloat while waiting to be approved for disability benefits is a tricky issue in most cases. Help might be available while waiting for Social Security or disability insurance payments, but you must piece it together. Below are some resources for claimants in the state of Florida. There may be similar resources available to claimants in other states.
Please understand that we do not “recommend” these services or medical providers. We are not associated with them in any way and do not take any responsibility for whether you are accepted as a patient at any of the facilities. Moreover, we cannot guarantee the facility or treatment that you may receive.
Most of these medical facilities are generally funded by state sponsorship or private organizations and require you to qualify for their services. We hope these facilities can accept you as a patient and provide you with the medical care you need. Frequent medical treatment is vital to the success of your disability claim.
Florida Department of Children and Families
The Florida Department of Children and Families has the Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) program. The ACCESS Florida Program helps to promote strong and economically self-sufficient communities by providing food, cash, and medical assistance to individuals and families on the road to economic recovery.
The Food Assistance Program helps individuals and families purchase nutritional foods to maintain and promote good health. The Temporary Cash Assistance program provides financial assistance to pregnant women in their third trimester and families with dependent children to pay rent, utilities, and other household expenses. The Medicaid Program provides medical assistance to individuals and families to cover or assist in the cost of medically necessary services.
Applying for Assistance
You may apply for assistance from any computer with an internet connection at www.myflorida.com/accessflorida or one of the www.myflfamilies.com community partner sites. You may also complete a paper application that can be mailed, faxed, or returned to an ACCESS Florida Customer Service Center.
Food stamps are available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for disabled individuals. You can apply for food stamps at most Social Security offices. You can find out if you’re eligible and how much you can get with the screening tool at www.foodstamps-step1.usda.gov.
The Food Assistance Program
The Food Assistance Program helps people with low income buy healthy food. A food assistance household is usually a group of people who live together and buy food and cook meals together. Suppose your household passes the Food Assistance Program’s eligibility rules. In that case, the amount of food assistance benefits you get depends on the number of people in your household and how much money is left after subtracting certain expenses.
The SUNCAP Program is a unique Food Assistance Program for individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You may be eligible to receive food assistance benefits through the SUNCAP Program without any additional application, paperwork, or interviews. If you already receive food assistance benefits in the regular Food Assistance Program, you may be automatically put in the SUNCAP Program when you become SSI eligible. If your food assistance benefits go down because of SUNCAP, you may choose to continue receiving your food assistance under the regular Food Assistance Program.
Private charitable organizations may occasionally assist with rent, utility, and transportation assistance. Often, this assistance is on a need-evaluation basis and sometimes is a one-time help only, but it’s worth checking into.
United Way 2-1-1 publishes various brochures that list charitable organizations that may be able to assist with necessities. Here is a link to resource guides for several Northwest Florida counties.
Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
You might also want to contact your area’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. If you qualify for assistance, they can sometimes assist you in various ways, even to the extent of getting you examined by a physician to determine the extent of your limitations. The report of such an exam could be beneficial in your disability case, and “Voc Rehab” or “VR” counselors are generally willing to provide such information when asked by either the disability examiner at DDS (Disability Determination Services, an agency that works for the SSA) or by an attorney.
Plan for the Long Haul
Something else I generally tell claimants is this: the wait for disability benefits is typically very long. Analyze your finances and plan for the long haul.