Homeless and Disabled – Finding Hope and Help
POSTED BY Darcey . March 3, 2020
About 568,000 Americans are homeless on any given night. People find themselves on the street when they are experiencing the worst times of their lives. Foreclosure, job loss, domestic violence, mental and physical illness, substance abuse, generational poverty – there are countless factors that contribute to homelessness. At Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, many of our disability clients are struggling to access the shelter and resources they need to survive.
What can you do if you are homeless?
Everyone knows to call 9-1-1 if there is a life-threatening emergency. But did you know about 2-1-1? Since 2017, 95% of the United States has access to a public phone service called 2-1-1. More than 200 agencies (such as the United Way) provide this service. Calling this number will connect you to a local, trained specialist that can assist you with a myriad of resources in your community, such as:
- Food banks,
- Emergency shelter and affordable housing,
- Youth and childcare programs,
- Addiction and mental health counseling,
- Community reentry,
- Disaster relief,
- Financial assistance, and
- Aid for Veterans and seniors.
All calls are confidential and the service is offered 24/7, year-round, with translation available in over 100 languages.
Get a cell phone.
If you can’t afford a mobile phone, you can apply for help through the Lifeline assistance program. The benefits are based on both federal and state eligibility criteria. For low-income applicants, you could receive a discount on your bills. Some providers such as Q Link Wireless will even provide free, refurbished smartphones.
Visit the library.
Access to computers and the internet is essential. A quick internet search can locate local organizations that offer emergency healthcare, food and housing. If you don’t have access to or are not comfortable using technology, local libraries provide free computers and staff who want to help. Far from simply lending books and offering a place to read, today’s libraries provide a wide array of public services. More than 30 public libraries across the U.S. employ social workers who connect patrons to:
- Health and emergency services,
- Food banks and transitional housing,
- Government programs,
- Counseling and faith-based organizations,
- Vocational programs,
- Immigration and legal support, and
- Resume creation and job-hunting.
Don’t give up!
There are thousands of organizations across the country that are working hard to help people through difficult times, both in your community and nationwide. The first thing you should do if you don’t have a place to stay or are being evicted is to connect with local resources and advocates. There is often a waitlist for these services, so it’s crucial that you act immediately.
Can I apply for benefits if I’m homeless?
Whether your situation is long-term or temporary, we at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, are here to help you with your disability claim. If you are applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or VA Disability Compensation, being homeless will not negatively impact your claim. And living in a shelter does not disqualify you for benefits.
Though not having a permanent address can make it difficult to apply, you can ask a family member, friend, church, shelter or advocacy group to serve as your primary contact through the process. Once you receive your benefits, keep in mind that SSI and SSDI payments are issued electronically. You’ll need a bank account for direct deposit or you can sign up for the Direct Express program.
A lawyer specializing in disability is your best bet.
When you are homeless, it feels like the odds are not in your favor. The Social Security programs can seem complex and overwhelming. It really is to your advantage to hire an experienced disability lawyer. Jan Dils is a member of the West Virginia Bar, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), and the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates (NOVA). Her firm has 25 years of experience in disability and personal injury cases.
Our consultations are free and there are no upfront fees. We are only paid if you are approved for benefits. Call us at 877.526.3457, or fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly. One of our dedicated specialists can get you the answers you need and guide you through this difficult process.
We are here to help!