How can disabled people transition from institutions to community-based living?

Sometimes, people are born with physical or mental disabilities and in other cases, they may become disabled during their life as a result of an accident, illness, or injury. When disability strikes, hiring a skilled Social Security disability benefits attorney may expedite the process of obtaining benefits.

The federal government provides disability benefits through two different federal programs. Applying for disability benefits means navigating a complicated and time- consuming process that begins with determining which of the two programs (or sometimes both) is appropriate in your particular case.

Social Security disability insurance (“SSDI”) is available to people who have acquired sufficient work credits before becoming disabled, meaning they previously worked and paid into the Social Security system through their payroll taxes for a certain amount of work hours and years. The second program, Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is a means-tested program available to elderly and/or disabled people with severely limited income and resources.

Regardless of which benefits program is appropriate in your particular case, it’s often difficult to make ends meet relying solely on these benefits. Fortunately, other federal and/or state government programs may be available to help the disabled with other living expenses.

One example is the Money Follows the Person program–which provides funds to move disabled people out of institutions and into community living settings. But the federal program is due to expire at year end and needs to be extended and funded by Congress immediately as most states have run out of federal money for their programs.

Money Follows the Person (“MFP”) is formally known as The Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration Grant. The program enables states to “re-balance their Medicaid long-term care systems”. Specifically, MFP program goals include:

  • “increase the use of home and community-based services (“HCBS”) and reduce the use of institutionally based services
  • eliminate barriers in state law, state Medicaid plans, and state budgets that restrict the use of Medicaid funds to let people get long-term care in the settings of their choice
  • strengthen the ability of Medicaid programs to provide HCBS to people who choose to transition out of institutions
  • put procedures in place to provide quality assurance and improvement of HCBS.”

If the program is not extended and refunded, disabled people across the country who are waiting to transition from nursing homes and other institutions to small apartments or group homes in their communities will have to remain institutionalized or complete their transition “on the state’s dime”.

Advocates for the MFP program encourage Congress to focus on the evaluations that have reportedly shown that the MFP program ultimately saves Medicaid “as much is 20% per Medicare beneficiary, per month” by moving the disabled out of costly institutions.

Living with a disability can be painful and stressful, especially when awaiting benefits or trying to access additional funding. Many people seek guidance from Social Security disability benefits attorneys to help them obtain the maximum benefits available through various programs.

If you or a loved one is disabled and needs assistance applying for Social Security disability benefits or appealing the denial of those benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help. Contact the office today for a free consultation.

With offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we represent disabled clients and their families throughout Arizona.