6 Freebies for Disabled People on SSI and SSDI
There is a host of free stuff available to you if you are disabled and receive SSI or SSDI. If you are in need of help the following programs can provide you with everything from free toothpaste to free refrigerators. Links for each benefit are also provided to help you on your way to getting your freebies!
1. Free Over-the-Counter Health Products
If you are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid due to having a very low income of SSI or SSDI, chances are your healthcare plan has an over-the-counter benefit available to you. For example, the Molina Dual Options of Ohio program provides a $240 annual free benefit to members that allows them to order from a large variety of health products at no charge, and have the items delivered to their home. Some of these products you can get for free include:
- Equipment, such as bathroom scales, blood pressure monitors, heating pads, electric toothbrushes, and shower benches
- Vitamins and supplements, like fish oil, stress tablets, multivitamins, and glucosamine chondroitin MSM tablets
- Allergy remedies and acid reducers, such as cough syrup, sore throat lozenges, and antacids
- Pain relievers, like ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, and Ben-Gay
- Digestive health products, such as milk of magnesia and Ex-Lax
- Dental care products, like toothpaste, oral pain relief gel, floss, and denture adhesive
- First-aid products, such as bandages, gauze, and antibiotic ointment
States that offer this benefit usually have pre-printed catalogs or a website where you can order the free products, or they offer a benefit card that you can take to a participating pharmacy. You generally will not be charged any tax or shipping fees on these OTC items.
Some of the state programs that offer this type of free OTC merchandise coverage are Wellcare Staywell of Florida, ArchCare Advantage of New York, and Amerigroup STAR+PLUS MMP of Texas.
This freebie not only helps you but helps taxpayers and the medical industry. Providing for basic medical aids such as pain relievers and fever reducers keeps costs lower by eliminating unnecessary and costly trips to the emergency room.
To see if you can get this benefit, contact customer service at your healthcare plan and ask if they have an OTC benefit for participants with dual Medicaid and Medicare enrollment.
2. Free Home Appliances
The United States Department of Energy has a Home Weatherization program in all US states and territories for low-income citizens. Priority is given to homes that have a resident receiving SSI. The weatherization program provides government grants for free replacement of broken furnaces, as well as replacement of energy inefficient refrigerators and deep freezers in your home. This program can also provide roof repairs, window replacements, and other HVAC fixes, with the goal of making low-income Americans' homes truly energy-efficient. And all of this is free to you!
The Home Weatherization Program has many goals. It helps the government maintain existing housing, creates economic activity by providing employment to contractors across the country, and helps private citizens lower their energy and housing costs.
To find out more about this weatherization service, go to:
3. Free Smartphone with 1000 Free Monthly Minutes
If you live within poverty guidelines on SSI or SSDI you will be eligible for free phone service. The old Obamaphone program has become more generous, with cell phone carriers now providing up to 1000 free minutes per month as well as unlimited texts. In the past many carriers had limited the time to 250 free minutes. This is welcome news to low-income people who need enough minutes to talk to doctors, service providers, and to keep contact with family.
Participants were previously limited to candy bar or flip-style phones, but carriers are now starting to offer smartphones.
To enjoy this low income benefit, try Q Link Wireless. They offer a free smartphone, 1000 minutes, 1GB data, and unlimited texts each and every month.
You can apply at: https://qlinkwireless.com/
4. Free Broadband Internet Service
If you are currently living on SSI or SSDI income in HUD-assisted housing, or are planning to live in one of these settings, the government initiative ConnectHome Nation might be bringing free internet service to your location.
ConnectHome Nation currently provides free and low-cost internet service to communities in 28 cities. It has a national initiative to expand free and deeply reduced priced broadband internet to 350,000 households by the year 2020 in over 100 American communities.
Currently they provide internet to HUD communities in cities including Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Boston, MA; Camden, NJ; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; Memphis, TN; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Tampa, FL; and Washington, DC.
To see if you can get free or deeply reduced priced internet in your zip code, please visit: https://connecthomeusa.org/resident-resources.
5. Free U.S. Recreational Pass
The US government encourages its citizens to explore our country's beautiful landscape for leisure and learning through visits to over 2,000 Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service sites. If you are an SSI or SSDI recipient it also means you can enjoy this recreation for free using an Access Pass. These sites allow for refreshing fishing, sporting, walking, hiking, riding, and picnicking in nature.
This card waives the entrance fees to these sites for you. To contrast, a non-disabled annual pass can cost up to $80 per year. The disabled persons' Access Pass is good for a lifetime, however, very easily adding up to a benefit of over $1,000 in an adult lifetime. This pass also allows you to waive the entrance fees for up to three guests. So if you have family, are in a wheelchair, have a caretaker, or just need a friend along with you for some light guidance, they are covered too.
Some of the most popular sites you can visit for free are:
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
- Yellowstone National Park
- Colorado National Monument
- Yosemite National Park
In addition, sites such as Rocky Mountain National Park, Statue of Liberty National Park, Denali National Park and Reserve, Yellowstone National Park, Congaree National Park, and Frederick Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park have ADA accessible handicap-friendly tours, in case you have a physical disability that limits your mobility.
Normally just one visit to some of these sites can cost $20 per person, so the Access Pass can be highly beneficial to you if you want travel and leisure on the cheap.
To find out about sites that accept the Access Pass near you, visit: https://www.recreation.gov/
To apply for the free lifetime Access Pass, you will need to document your disability by visiting one of the sites and including a letter from Social Security regarding your receipt of SSI or SSDI.
6. Free Job Training
If you are determined to voluntarily get back into the work force, the Social Security Administration runs the free Ticket to Work job training initiative. Through State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and private partnerships this program aims to help SSI and SSDI recipients become independent again. One of the benefits includes job opportunities with the government, with a special clause where you won't have to compete with non-disabled applicants for the job. The Ticket to Work program also allows you to retain free Medicare insurance for 8 years after you begin working again, as long as you still have a disability.
To find out more about this program, please visit: https://choosework.ssa.gov/
Although being disabled provides daily challenges, it is helpful to know these free programs can enhance your quality and enjoyment of life!
Making Your Income Stretch
Which free benefit are you most interested in?
Questions & Answers
Is there free help out there for disabled people on things like a mattress or vacuums?
The only thing I can imagine is that you might be able to get therapeutic mattress products through Medicare if medically necessary. While I don't know of any programs for vacuums, you might be able to get reimbursed for housecleaning services under Medicare if your disability prevents you from cleaning your own home.Helpful 32
Will I qualify for freebies if I am disabled?
If you are on SSI or SSDI and are generally low income, you should qualify for at least some of these programs.Helpful 23
Do any disability benefits count against my SSI, like the appliances, since they are expensive items?
No, the Federal government has made an exception for the weatherization program so any benefit you get from it is not counted as an asset and is also not taxable. The other benefits listed also do not count against SSI or SSDI.Helpful 11
Do I have to own the house to be eligible for the weatherization project? My landlord allows tenants to use their own appliances.
No, fortunately you can be a renter, but I believe you need the landlord's permission on the weatherization paperwork.Helpful 18
Where can I can a refrigerator as a disabled person on SSI?
You would need to apply for the Weatherization program noted in the article above.Helpful 13
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