Disability Public Benefits

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab
Read this in: Spanish / Español

About

Disability public benefits refer to financial assistance provided by the government to individuals with disabilities. These benefits may include: 

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) 
  • Louisiana Medicaid 
  • Louisiana Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services 
  • Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council (LASILC) 
  • Louisiana Assistive Technology Acess Network (LATAN)
  • Louisiana Department of Education Special Education Services 
  • Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Mental Health Services 
  • Veteran Disability Benefits 

Disability Benefits In Louisiana

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides financial assistance to individuals who are disabled, blind, or aged and have limited income and resources. In Louisiana, SSI is administered by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Once approved for benefits, SSI recipients in Louisiana receive a monthly cash benefit to help cover basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.

Eligibility

To be eligible for SSI in Louisiana, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be aged 65 or older, blind, or disabled.

  2. Have limited income and resources.

  3. Be a resident of Louisiana.

  4. Meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.

  5. Not be receiving benefits from another government program.

In addition to the above criteria, applicants must also provide proof of identity, proof of citizenship or legal residency, and proof of income and resources.

How Can I Apply?

If you think you might be eligible for benefits then you can apply for SSI benefits in Louisiana by completing an application online or by visiting a Social Security office. The application process can take several weeks to complete, so it is important to apply as soon as possible. Once an application is approved, you can begin receiving disability benefits. 

Learn more about social security disability benefits at this resource here

In Louisiana, individuals who are disabled and unable to work may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Learn more about Social Security disability benefits here.

Eligibility

To qualify for SSDI, applicants must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain number of years and must have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Applicants must also meet the Social Security Administration's definition of disability.

How Can I Apply?

To apply for SSDI in Louisiana, applicants must complete an application online or in person at their local Social Security office. Applicants must provide medical evidence of their disability, including medical records, lab results, and doctor's statements. They must also provide information about their work history, including pay stubs and W-2 forms. Once the application is submitted, the Social Security Administration will review the information and make a determination about whether the applicant is eligible for SSDI. If approved, the applicant will receive monthly payments to help cover the costs of living.

Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program that provides health care coverage to people with disabilities who meet certain eligibility requirements. Medicaid helps disabled people access the healthcare services they need to stay healthy and manage their disability. It covers a wide range of services for health coverage. The Medicaid Purchase Plan (MPP) offers health coverage for people with disabilities that work. 

Learn more about Medicaid health coverage in Louisiana here.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Medicaid, an individual must be a resident of Louisiana, be a U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen, and meet certain income and resource requirements. In addition, an individual must meet certain disability criteria.

How Can I Apply?

To apply for Medicaid, individuals must complete an application and provide proof of identity, residency, and income. Applications can be completed online, by mail, or in person at a local Department of Health and Hospitals office. Once an application is approved, individuals will receive a Medicaid card and will be able to access health care services.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services Benefits Program. provides financial assistance to individuals with disabilities who are seeking to gain employment. The program provides services such as job training, job placement, and job coaching. It also provides assistance with job search, resume writing, and interviewing skills. The program also provides assistance with transportation, housing, and other related expenses. The program is designed to help individuals with disabilities become self-sufficient and gain employment. 

Eligibility

Individuals with disabilities who are in need of vocational rehabilitation services may be eligible for the Louisiana Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services Benefits Program. To get benefits you must: 

  • Be a resident of Louisiana 
  • Have a physical or mental disability that significantly limits one or more major life activities 
  • Have a need for vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, enter, engage in, or retain gainful employment. 
  • Be able to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services. 
  • Be able to participate in an individualized plan for employment

How Can I Apply? 

  1. Contact the Louisiana Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services Benefit program by phone or email to request an application. Contact the nearest LRS Regional Office. You can locate this information through the Regional Office Directory.
  2. Complete the application and submit it to the Louisiana Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services Benefit program.
  3. Provide any additional documentation requested by the Louisiana Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services Benefit program.
  4. Attend an interview with a representative from the Louisiana Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services Benefit program.
  5. Wait for a decision from the Louisiana Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services Benefit program.

The Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council (LASILC) is a non-profit organization that provides services and resources to individuals with disabilities in Louisiana. The organization promotes independent living for individuals with disabilities by providing resources, education, and advocacy. The LASILC offers a variety of programs and services to help individuals with disabilities live independently. 

Eligibility

Individuals who wish to apply to the Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council (LASILC) must meet the following eligibility requirements: 

  1. Be a resident of Louisiana.
  2. Be 18 years of age or older.
  3. Have a disability or be a family member, guardian, or advocate of an individual with a disability.
  4. Have an interest in and commitment to the independent living philosophy.
  5. Be willing to serve on the Council for a two-year term.
  6. Be willing to attend Council meetings and participate in Council activities.
  7. Be willing to abide by the Council’s bylaws and policies.

How Can I Apply? 

Individuals with disabilities who wish to apply to the Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council (LASILC) can do so by submitting an application to the Council. The application can be found on the LASILC website. The application requires information about the applicant’s disability, their contact information, and a brief statement about why they are interested in serving on the Council. Once the application is received, the Council will review it and contact the applicant to discuss their qualifications and interest in serving.

The Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN) is a statewide program that provides access to assistive technology (AT) for people with disabilities.

The program is funded by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and administered by the Louisiana Rehabilitation Services. LATAN provides access to AT devices and services to eligible individuals with disabilities, including those with physical, sensory, cognitive, and/or mental health disabilities.

The program provides access to AT devices and services through a variety of methods, including direct purchase, loan, and demonstration. LATAN also provides training and technical assistance to individuals, families, and professionals on the use of AT devices and services.

The program also provides access to AT devices and services through a variety of funding sources, including Medicaid, private insurance, and grants. LATAN also provides access to AT devices and services through a variety of vendors, including local AT providers, national AT providers, and online AT providers.

LATAN also provides access to AT devices and services through a variety of outreach activities, including public awareness campaigns, conferences, and workshops. LATAN also provides access to AT devices and services through a variety of resources, including publications, websites, and online resources.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN) services, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a Louisiana resident
  2. Have a disability or be an older adult (age 65 or older)
  3. Have a need for assistive technology to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities
  4. Have the financial resources to pay for the requested services and/or assistive technology
  5. Have an unmet need for assistive technology as determined by a formal assessment
  6. Be willing to work with LATAN to identify, acquire, and use assistive technology.

How Can I Apply? 

The Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing access to assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. Individuals who wish to apply for LATAN services can do so by visiting the LATAN website. On the website, applicants can fill out an online application form and submit it for evaluation. After submitting the application, applicants will be contacted by LATAN staff for an in-person assessment. Applicants will then be provided with information about what services they qualify for and the cost of such services.

Louisiana Department of Education Special Education Services disability benefits. The Louisiana Department of Education provides a variety of special education services and supports to students with disabilities. These services are designed to help students with disabilities reach their full potential and participate in the general education curriculum. The Department of Education provides a range of services and supports to students with disabilities, including:

  • Special education instruction
  • Related services such as speech-language therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy Assistive technology
  • Transition services
  • Behavioral supports
  • Early intervention services
  • Parent training and support
  • Extended school year services
  • Extended school day services
  • Home and hospital instruction
  • Extended school year services
  • Extended school day services
  • Home and hospital instruction
  • Specialized instruction
  • Adaptive physical education
  • Assistive technology
  • Transition services
  • Behavioral supports

In addition, the Department of Education provides financial assistance to families of students with disabilities through the Special Education Scholarship Program. This program provides tuition assistance to families of students with disabilities who attend private schools.

Eligibility

To get benefits to receive special education services the student must have an identified disability. The disability must be causing a functional limitation and must be adversely impacting their educational performance. The functional limitation must be documented in the student's evaluation and the student must require specialized instruction and services for their disability. The student's evaluation must also identify the student's unique needs and any services that are necessary for them to access the general education curriculum. The evaluation must include an explanation of why the student's disability affects their ability to access the general education curriculum. 

How Can I Apply? 

If you think a child might qualify for these disability benefits then you can contact your local school district to inquire about special education services. Request an evaluation for your child to determine if they are eligible for special education services. If your child is found eligible, then the school district will develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child. The IEP outlines the services and supports your child will receive.

The school district may also provide you with more information about the services and supports available through the Louisiana Department of Education. Submit an application for services to the Louisiana Department of Education. The Louisiana Department of Education will review your application and determine if your child is eligible for services. 

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Mental Health Services provides disability benefits to individuals who have mental health needs. These services include crisis intervention, case management, medication management, individual and group therapy, and community support services. The department also provides resources and referrals to other mental health providers in the state. Additionally, the department offers educational programs and workshops to help individuals and families better understand mental health issues and how to access services. 

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for benefits through Louisiana Health and Hospitals Mental Health, individuals must meet certain criteria. These criteria include being a resident of Louisiana, being a U.S. citizen or legal resident, and having a mental health diagnosis that meets the criteria for mental health services. Additionally, individuals must meet financial eligibility requirements, which are based on income and family size.

How Can I Apply? 

If you think you might be eligible for mental health benefits contact your local Louisiana Health and Hospitals Mental Health office. You can find the contact information for your local office by visiting the Louisiana Department of Health website. Speak with a representative at the office to determine if you are eligible for benefits. The representative will ask you questions about your income, assets, and other factors to determine if you qualify. If you are eligible, the representative will provide you with an application packet. The packet will include instructions on how to complete the application and what documents you need to submit. Complete the application and submit it to the office along with any required documents. Wait for a response from the office. The office will review your application and determine if you are eligible for benefits. If you are approved, the office will provide you with information on how to access your benefits.

Veteran disability benefits are provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to military veterans who have a disability that is connected to their service. These benefits are designed to compensate veterans for injuries or diseases that occurred or were aggravated during active military service. The benefits can also cover conditions that became evident after service that are presumed to be related to military service.

You can learn more about veteran disability benefits here.

Eligibility

To be eligible for these benefits through the VA, individuals must meet certain criteria. Eligibility for veteran disability benefits is generally based on the following criteria:

  1. Service Requirement: The individual must have served in the active military, naval, or air service. This includes reservists and National Guard members who were called to active duty.

  2. Discharge Status: The veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. The type of discharge can significantly affect eligibility.

  3. Service-Connected Disability: There must be a diagnosed injury or illness that was incurred in or aggravated by military service. The VA also recognizes certain illnesses as presumptively connected to service under specific conditions (e.g., exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam).

  4. Disability Rating: The condition must be evaluated by the VA to determine if it qualifies for disability compensation. The VA assigns a disability rating that reflects the severity of the condition and its impact on the veteran's ability to work. A higher disability rating corresponds to greater compensation.

How Can I Apply? 

If you think you might be eligible for veteran disability benefits through the VA, then you should file for benefits. Learn how to apply by visiting the VA website

Last Review and Update: Dec 08, 2022
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