Key Programs

There are many different disability benefits programs. This section explains 3 of the most important ones:

Make sure you understand why these programs are important by reading the introductions to them below. Private health care coverage is also discussed as it is an important health coverage alternative.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI benefits are the most important income support for young people. Even if you have never had a job, you may be able to get SSI. Even if you are under 18 and live with your parents, you may be able to get SSI.

Who It Helps

People who are disabled or blind may not be able to work or afford to live on their own. If you have a disability, don’t have enough money for your basic needs, don’t have much income, and have limited resources, you may be able to get SSI. If you have a disability, are under the age of 18, and your parents have low income and limited resources, you may also be eligible for SSI.

What You Get

If you qualify for SSI, you get a monthly check. This money helps you pay your expenses, like food and rent. If you get SSI, you also qualify automatically for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).

Learn more in SSI Eligibility for Young People.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI benefits are another major income support for people with disabilities. When you work, taxes are taken out of your paycheck. Some of those taxes are automatically paid into the SSDI program. If you have paid enough money into SSDI, you will get SSDI benefits if your disability prevents you from working.

SSDI isn’t a very important program for most young people, because they haven’t worked long enough to get benefits from it. While you probably don’t qualify for SSDI now, if you get a job you will qualify later, and the more you work, the bigger your SSDI check will be if you need it!

To learn more, read DB101’s section on SSDI.

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)

AHCCCS is the most important public health benefit for young people with disabilities.

Who It Helps

AHCCCS is for people who cannot afford medical expenses, including people who are disabled, young, or pregnant. To get it, you or your family must have low income. If you’re on SSI, you automatically qualify for AHCCCS. KidsCare is a way for children to get AHCCCS coverage until they turn 19.

What You Get

If you qualify, AHCCCS pays for your medical expenses, including visits to the doctor, hospital stays, prescription drugs, medical equipment, and other medical services.

To learn more, read AHCCCS Eligibility for Young People.

AHCCCS Freedom to Work Basics

AHCCCS Freedom to Work lets you get a job, save up some money, and keep your AHCCCS health coverage.

Who It Helps

AHCCCS Freedom to Work is for people with disabilities who have jobs. There is no resource limit. There is an income limit, but it is higher than the income limit for standard AHCCCS. You also have to pay a monthly premium to get it, with the amount of the premium depending on your income. The maximum premium is $35 per month.

What You Get

AHCCCS Freedom to Work pays for the same services that standard AHCCCS covers, including visits to the doctor, hospital stays, medical equipment, and other medical services.

Learn more in AHCCCS Freedom to Work Eligibility for Young People.

1619(b)

There is another way you can keep getting AHCCCS while you work. If you lost your SSI because of earnings from work, you can continue to get AHCCCS through a rule called SSI 1619(b). It is exactly the same AHCCCS coverage that you had before you started working. 1619(b) is explained in more detail in AHCCCS Eligibility for Young People.

Private Health Care Coverage

Private health insurance is the most common way for people to get health coverage.

Who It Helps

People get private health care coverage in different ways. Some people have private health care coverage that is paid for by their employers; others get it from their parents’ employers; and some people pay for it with their own money. If your family income is at or below 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines ($49,960 per year if you are single) and you get an individual health plan, the government may help pay for your monthly premium through tax subsidies.

What You Get

Private health care coverage pays for some of your medical costs when you see a doctor or other health care provider, or get prescription medicine at a pharmacy. Depending on your private health care coverage plan, the plan may pay for almost the entire cost of your medical expenses, or it may pay only a portion of those expenses.

Read Private Health Care Coverage for Young People to learn more.