Key Programs

There are many different disability benefits programs. This section explains some of the most important ones, focusing on:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • MO HealthNet programs for young people and people with disabilities
  • MO HealthNet programs for people with disabilities who work

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

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

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

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 benefits. 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 benefits.

What You Get

If you qualify for SSI benefits, you get a monthly check. This money helps you pay for your expenses, like food and rent. Most people who get SSI also qualify for MO HealthNet.

Learn more in SSI Eligibility for Young People.

Watch this short video to learn more about SSI's basic rules.

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 benefits amount will be if you need it!

Learn more about SSDI in DB101's SSDI article.

MO HealthNet Programs for Young People and People with Disabilities

MO HealthNet is the most important public health benefit for young people and people with disabilities.

Who It Helps

MO HealthNet is for people who cannot afford medical expenses or who experience certain situations. Common ways young people qualify for MO HealthNet include:

  • Being under age 19 and having parents with low income
  • Having a disability
  • Being pregnant or having a child

What You Get

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

To learn more, read the section on MO HealthNet Eligibility for Young People.

MO HealthNet if You Have a Disability and Work

There are some great programs that let you get a job, save up some money, and keep your MO HealthNet coverage.

Who They Help

MO HealthNet has 3 programs designed to help people with disabilities who have jobs. The 3 programs are called the spend down, SSI 1619(b), and the Ticket to Work Health Assurance (TWHA) program. Depending on your situation, you may qualify to get coverage through one of these programs.

What You Get

Under these rules, MO HealthNet will continue to cover the same services that standard MO HealthNet covers, including visits to the doctor, hospital stays, medical equipment, and other medical services. You may have to pay some of your medical expenses in the form of a spend down or a premium.

To learn more, read the section on MO HealthNet Eligibility for Young People Who Work.

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 between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines 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 when you 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.

To learn more, read the section on Private Health Care Coverage for Young People.