Financial Assistance for the Disabled

People with physical disabilities face more financial challenges and find it much more difficult to finance their lifestyle. One in every four US citizens is found to be disabled, whether it comes to physically or mentally. 

A basic example can be seen by comparing children with and without autism. Typically, the average cost of raising a child for 18 years is approximately $310,605. By comparison, the cost of raising a child suffering from autism can be as high as $1,400,000 over their lifetime. That is why the government takes significant initiatives for people with disabilities and makes sure that they are more financially assisted.

Scholarships for Disabled Students

Below, we have outlined a list of programs for US citizens with different types of disabilities. These programs are designed to give disabled applicants access to greater benefits and financial assistance. 

Supplemental Security Income for Special Needs

The only government income source allocated for disabled children is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a social security benefit. SSI for a child with special needs can be a lifeline that keeps a family out of poverty by providing funds to cover expenses such as food, clothing, and housing. However, most children fail to qualify, or may not receive the full amount. In 2022, an eligible child was given a maximum of $841 each month. Parents can receive SSI benefits from the child’s birth date to 18 year old.

SSI is intended for low-income households. Both of the child’s parents and the family with which the youngster resides must meet specific income requirements. 

In most states, a child eligible for SSI is also immediately eligible for Medicaid. To qualify for SSI, you must demonstrate that your child has “marked and severe functional limitations.” In addition, this must be supported by medical data. Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disability, and blindness are a few examples.

There are certain requirements for SSI. For instance, a family’s gross monthly earned income cannot exceed $3,489 for a one-parent household or $4,329 for a two-parent household, providing no other children are living in the home. If there are more children, the amount may increase.

Social Security Survivor Benefits

Unmarried children under 18 who are eligible for Social Security may receive monthly Social Security Survivor Benefits. This will only happen if an eligible parent passes away, retires, or becomes handicapped. A youngster with exceptional needs who is older than 18 may also qualify.

To be eligible to receive the benefit credits that can be transferred to a survivor, the parent typically has to have worked and contributed to Social Security for 10 years. A parent would be eligible for one credit this year (2022) for every $1,510 they make, up to a maximum of $6,040 for four credits per year. The survivor will receive a particular amount depending on the parent’s average lifetime income. A dependent child under 18 or a child who is disabled can get up to 75% of the parent’s benefit.

Social Security Survivor Benefits are available to widows. The age requirement is 60 or older, though for the disabled it is lowered to 50 years old. If a widow below that age has a disabled child (under 16 years), they also meet the requirement. Usually, the advantages expire after a child has reached 18 years of age. Interestingly, a child with a qualifying impairment who received Survivor Benefits until 18 could continue to do so even after they are older than 18. This is by becoming eligible for Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits.

Educational Monetary Awards  

A significant number of scholarships are available for children suffering from physical disabilities. Furthermore, a substantial number of scholarships are available for exceptional students. A few of them are listed below.

Access to Education for the Disabled


Young individuals with ADHD are recognized for their talents and successes by the Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award, a yearly $1,000 prize. It is awarded to a student who is 19 years old or younger and who has shown initiative, ability, and perseverance leading to significant achievement in any discipline. You can click here to apply for it!

Additionally, Shire’s Michael Yasick ADHD Scholarship is a $2,000 grant. It is open to American students with ADHD who intend to enroll in a higher education program.


Two $3,000 non-renewable scholarships from the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) are available to autistic students. Primarily, they must be enrolled full-time in school and pursuing certification or accreditation in a particular subject.

Learning and Cognitive Disabilities

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) presents four yearly awards and scholarships. They include the $5,000 Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship. It is given to a graduating high school senior who plans to enroll in a two-year community college. A vocational or technical training or specialized program for students with a learning disability or ADHD.

Moreover, the $10,000 Anne Ford Scholarship is given to a graduating high school senior. They must plan to attend a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Recipients are required to exhibit financial necessity and participate in extracurricular and community activities.

Landmark College is one of the national institutions designed particularly for individuals with learning difficulties. Students can apply for scholarships ranging in value from $1,500 to $34,000. They are awarded based on merit and financial need.

Visual Difficulties

Legally blind high school students preparing for college are eligible for up to 20 merit-based scholarships. Accordingly, one of these students is eligible for at least one qualified graduate student each year.

Financial Assistance for Disabled Adults

Programs intended to help children are age-restricted, but some programs give money to adults with special needs. Compared to the overall population, a substantially higher percentage of the disabled lives in poverty. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021, only 17.9% of people with disabilities were employed.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs should be your first stop when seeking assistance. You must have worked in occupations covered by Social Security. Furthermore, you must have a disability that satisfies Social Security’s requirements to qualify for SSDI. Those that are accepted will get monthly financial benefits. Those refused benefits may still be granted if they file a disability appeal.

SSI is a program for disabled persons funded by taxes. Use the Social Security Administration’s Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool to determine your eligibility.

States and territories receive money from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This program is designed to help families with financial support and other services to satisfy their basic requirements. Childcare, employment training, and work support are all possible state-run initiatives. Visit The Office of Family Assistance to learn more about what your state has to offer.

Non-elderly disabled families can apply for housing vouchers to help them pay their rent. These vouchers are from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition, low-income households can receive assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by receiving food stamps. SNAP payments can be used at supermarkets to help put food on the table.


We have done our best to highlight the major programs that provide financial assistance to adults and children with disabilities. There are multiple grants and programs at your disposal, and you should take full advantage of them. Know of other good financial assistance programs? Please leave them in the comments below so that other readers can benefit as well!  

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