Disability Benefits and Long-Term Care

Submitted by pec on

Disability benefits can be a big help if you can’t work any longer due to an illness or injury. But if you need long-term care the options can be confusing. If you have been diagnosed with a disability, it is important to understand social security disability benefits and long-term care options.

Understanding Disability Benefits

There are two types of Social Security disability benefits. The type that you qualify for depends on the nature of your disability, whether or not you have worked in the past, and what your financial status is.
SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, is a type of disability benefit that you can apply for if you have worked before but you can’t work now because of a medical condition. If you have worked in the past you have earned work credits, and those work credits qualify you to receive SSDI benefits.

The number of work credits that you need to qualify is based on both your age and the number of years you have been able to work. As long as you have the amount of work credits required for your age and years of work you can apply for SSDI.

When you apply for SSDI benefits you must submit an application, your medical records, and other documentation that shows exactly how your medical condition makes it impossible for you to work. You also must show that you have been diagnosed with a condition that is listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, and that you meet the SSA’s requirements for that condition which are listed in the Blue Book.


SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is different from SSDI, SSI is paid to people who have never been able to work because of a disability and people who are very low income. Children who are diagnosed with disabling conditions can qualify for SSI, but the money is paid to the parents to help offset the costs of the child’s living and medical expenses.

Once that child turns 18 they can apply for SSI on their own. Then the money is paid to them directly to help pay for essential costs like rent, food, and utilities.

The application process for SSI is similar to the application process for SSDI, but you also must show that you meet the SSA’s income limit requirement to qualify for SSI.

If you need long-term care because of your condition the money from SSDI or SSI can be used to pay for that long-term care, even if it’s long-term care at home.

Long-Term Care Options

There are a number of different options for long-term care. If you want to continue living in your house or apartment home care is a good option. With home care a care provider comes to your home to help you with housekeeping, cooking meals, and other tasks.

Another option is assisted living. If you choose assisted living you would move into an assisted living facility where you’d live in a suite-style apartment where care providers are on-site to help with everyday tasks and get you emergency medical care if you need.

Nursing home care or long-term facility care is also available. But nursing home care can be expensive because it involves having around the clock care from medical professionals.

The cost of long-term is a factor for many people who are disabled or will need care in the future. Typically nursing home care is the most expensive type of care because it involves the most supervised care.

If you are disabled and you know that you’re going to eventually need care it’s important that you start planning for that care now.

Combining Disability Benefits and Long-Term Care

Disability benefits can be used to pay for long-term care service, but often the amount of money that disability pays isn’t enough to cover the total cost of long-term care services. If you have been approved for disability benefits you may also qualify for government programs like Medicaid or Medicare which will sometimes pay a portion of the cost of long-term care.

Knowing all of the benefits that you qualify for including health care benefits, food stamps, and other programs will help you budget for long-term care more effectively. Combining the benefits from several different programs is usually the best way to pay for long-term care and make sure that you still have enough money to pay for other living expenses.

Navigating the System

Overwhelmed by the Social Security Administration’s application system and other government program applications? You’re not alone. The process of applying for benefits can be very confusing. These tips may help:

  • Talk to a Social Security attorney first.
  • Take your time applying to make sure you understand the entire process.
  • Include as much evidence as you can with your application packet.
  • Don’t give up!

If you need help navigating the Social Security system you can reach out to the SSA directly or get help from a Social Security attorney or other advocates. You can always make an appointment at your local SSA office if you need help with your application or you have questions about the process.

Planning for the Future

As someone with a disability getting the long-term care you need as you get older may be a challenge. Don’t wait to start planning for long-term care. There are options out there but you need to have time to decide which option is right for and figure out how to pay for long-term care.

Use the resources that are available to help you plan for long-term care and how to pay for it. The process of planning for long-term care is a lot less frightening and overwhelming when you have help. Planning ahead will also ensure that you have financial stability while also getting the care that you need as you get older.

Speak With a Disability Attorney

Talking to a disability attorney is the best way to get answers to your specific questions about your situation and long-term care. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation to get connected with an independent disability attorney who subscribes to the website and may be able to answer any questions about disability benefits and long term care.