When To Do When You Need Medical Care For Disability Benefits But Can't Afford It
The Social Security Administration requires applicants to submit health records supporting their disability claims as well as receiving regular medical checkups to monitor the progress of their conditions. If you don't have health insurance and can't afford the medical care you need, though, this can make it difficult to qualify for and keep Social Security disability benefits. Here are a couple of ways you can still get healthcare even if your bank account is empty.
See If You Qualify for Medicaid
The best thing you can do in this situation is to see if you qualify for Medicaid. This is a government insurance program that will pay for a good portion of your healthcare needs at little to no cost to you. The only issue is that Medicaid is designed for low-income and disabled individuals, so there is a cap on the amount of cash and assets you can have and still qualify for coverage.
The exact income limit varies depending on where you live but is based on the federal poverty level. For instance, for adults to qualify for Medicaid in Connecticut, their gross income can't be more than 133 percent of the poverty line. There may be things you can do to reduce your income if you make too much money so you can get approved for the program. However, it's essential that you consult with an attorney before attempting to adjust your income because you could end up being penalized by Medicaid if the agency thinks you're trying to commit fraud to gain access to the insurance benefits.
To apply for Medicaid, you can visit the Healthcare.gov website or contact your local Medicaid office. Be aware that it can take up to 90 days to receive a response once you submit your application, so be prepared to wait.
Use Community Health Centers and Clinics
Another option for getting medical care when pursuing Social Security benefits is to find a healthcare center or clinic that caters to low-income individuals. There are a number of facilities across the country that offer medical services on a sliding pay scale, meaning the amount you pay is based on your income. The less income you have, the lower the fee.
This can be an excellent way to obtain the evaluations and checkups you need to secure and maintain eligibility for disability benefits. The only issue is that these clinics are geared towards providing general care. If you require specialized treatments, you would have to find a private doctor who is willing to work with your financial situation (e.g., offer lower fees or payment plans).
However, if you have no other options, a community health center or clinic is a good place to start, and the professionals there may be able to help you obtain specialized treatment you can afford by tapping into their connections.
For more advice on this issue or help with your Social Security disability claim, contact a lawyer.