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There are several different types of financial help for the disabled, including cash assistance, health care coverage, and personal services. In addition, the disabled may also be able to enroll in special education programs as well as job-training services. Financial assistance is available through both government and private sources and can vary considerably by jurisdiction as well as the type of disability and the financial resources available to a disabled individual.
Welfare systems in many countries provide cash assistance to disabled people who, because of their disability, are unable to work. Every jurisdiction has its own standards for determining whether an individual is actually disabled and whether that individual is precluded by that disability from working. For example, in the United States, disabled people are provided cash assistance through either the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. In many cases, people who receive cash assistance automatically qualify for other types of financial help for the disabled, such as a food benefit, reduced or free utilities, and subsidized housing. This financial assistance may also extend to the families of the disabled, particularly dependent spouses and children.
In countries where health care is not automatically provided to citizens and residents, financial help for the disabled may take the form of reduced-cost or free health coverage. In the United States, disabled adults who receive SSDI are able to receive health care services through Medicare, while those who are not eligible for SSDI but are eligible for SSI may receive health coverage under the Medicaid program. Other government programs may exist that provide supportive health care services to individuals with disabilities.
In some cases, disabled individuals may qualify for various types of assistance with managing their daily lives. For example, the government may provide a disabled person with a personal-care attendant who can help her with dressing, bathing, and preparing meals. Free or low-cost public transportation services may be available, including door-to-door transit for individuals with low mobility. In some cases, private charities may also offer these services to individuals with disabilities.
In an attempt to assist the disabled toward self-sufficiency, some jurisdictions provide free education and training services in hopes that disabled individuals may be able to obtain gainful employment and return to work. As with other types of financial help for the disabled, student aid varies by jurisdiction but may include free career counseling services, subsidize tuition, and assistance with paying for books and adaptive technology, such as computers. In addition, many public universities offer comprehensive services to the disabled, including personal care attendants and accessible student housing.
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