Being a single mother is hard enough, but being a mom robbed of her physical ability to care for her children is infinitely harder. Unfortunate events like an accident or a congenital disease could make it nearly impossible for them to take care of their children.
Even a severe injury could prevent them from working for a year or two; losing the ability to earn a regular income and provide financially for the family.
Statistically speaking, single mothers with disability are more than twice as likely to live in poverty or extreme poverty as those without disabilities.
The good news is disability benefit program such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available for disabled people and their families, courtesy of the Social Security Administration.1
Financial Aid for Single Mothers with Disability
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is an income supplement program funded by federal taxes and is designed to help those who cannot or can no longer hold down a job due to disability – providing monthly cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
According to 2009 American Community Survey (ACS), an estimated 18.5% of individuals aged 21 to 64 years with a disability in the United States received SSI benefits.2
While the SSI is designed for a wide range of people like the blind or the elderly, the benefits also apply to single mothers who find themselves unable to continue working. More importantly for many, SSI recipients are also eligible for Medicaid, a federal health-insurance plan.
How SSA Decides If You Are Disabled
SSA.gov provides a comprehensive list of eligibility requirements, but here is a quick run-down of conditions needed to be considered “disabled”:
- No longer able to do work previously being done due to a physical/medical condition
- Unable to find other work due to a physical/medical condition
- Unemployed or earning less than $1,010 if still working
- Condition is ‘severe’ enough to interfere basic work-related activities
Though SSI is usually an income-dependent program, you’re eligible to receive SSI benefits as long as your savings or possession (real estate, bank accounts, cash) are worth no more than $2,000.
There is also the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST), which provides more in-depth online evaluation for those interested to apply for SSI. This is probably the best tool to fill out before directly applying for SSI.
You can also apply online from the convenience of your own home & avoid trips to a Social Security office, saving you time and money.
The other disability benefit program is the Social Security Disability Insurance – a social security protection if you become disabled.3
Update: As of May 1, 2011, paper checks are no longer available as a payment option. Those applying for Social Security and other federal benefits will receive their payments electronically.
- To apply for a child, please go to Applying for Disability Benefits for Children. [↩]
- Source: Disability Statistics – The Online Resource for U.S. Disability Statistics [↩]
- To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked for a certain amount of time and paid Social Security taxes during that period. [↩]