Other Programs

There are many other benefits programs that you might qualify for. If you get SSI and are over 18, you can probably also get Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If your income and assets are low enough, you may also be able to get income support from the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).

Depending on your circumstances, two Social Security programs may give you benefits based on contributions your parents made during their careers: Child’s Benefits and Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits.

A third set of programs, including ABLE accounts, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), help you save up money or other assets without losing your other benefits.

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA)

MSA provides an additional cash benefit to disabled people over the age of 18 and blind people of any age who have low incomes and low assets. The amount of your MSA monthly benefit depends on your living situation and expenses. A person living alone and getting SSI will usually qualify for a MSA benefit of $81.

MSA and SSI

Most people 18 or older who get SSI also qualify for MSA. However, you do not automatically get MSA if you are getting SSI or other benefits. You have to apply separately for MSA at your county human services agency. Sometimes you can get MSA even if you don’t get SSI.

Chat with a Hub expert to learn more.

If you qualify for MSA, you should also qualify for MA and SNAP. You can apply for MSA and SNAP online with ApplyMN or by completing a Minnesota DHS Combined Application Form and submitting it to your county human services agency. Get detailed information on how to apply for MA.

For more details on MSA, read DB101’s MSA section.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

If you get MSA, you can also get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps you pay for food.

SNAP used to be called Food Stamps or 'Food Support', but it changed names and it works a little differently now. Instead of using stamps, you get a plastic card called an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that looks and works like a debit card. Minnesota puts money on the EBT card each month and you use the card to pay for food.

In order to get SNAP benefits, you must have low income and limited assets. You can apply for SNAP at your local county human services agency. For more details, read DB101’s SNAP section.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)

MFIP provides money to families who don't have enough to pay for basic needs like food, clothing, and rent. MFIP defines a family as one or two parents living with their child or children under 18. The age limit is 19 for children who are in school full time. A family could include biological kids, step-kids, adopted kids, and children of relatives.

To figure out whether or not you're eligible for MFIP, the state looks at your income and assets. You can apply for MFIP at your local county human services agency. For more details, read DB101's MFIP section.

Child’s Benefits (only if you are under 19)

The most common way for adults to get Social Security benefits like SSDI or retirement benefits is to work and pay into Social Security’s trust fund.

For young people, however, a more common way to get Social Security benefits is to qualify for Child’s Benefits. You do not need to have a disability to qualify for Child’s Benefits. To get them, you must:

  • Be under the age of 18 (or 19 if you’re attending high school or other secondary education)
  • Not be married, and
  • Have a parent who gets Social Security retirement benefits or SSDI. If your parent is deceased, you may also qualify

Note: You'll get Child's Benefits in any month your parent gets a Social Security disability or retirement benefit. You will also get benefits if your parent is deceased and would have qualified for benefits based on his or her work record. That means that if your parent is in SSDI's Trial Work Period, you'll keep getting Child's Benefits, but during the Extended Period of Eligibility, you'll only get a Child's Benefit in any month your parent gets an SSDI benefit. Make sure to notify Social Security if your family is in this situation.

You can apply for Child’s Benefits at your local Social Security Office, or by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778). If you have questions about this, Chat with a Hub expert.

Disabled Adult Child (DAC) Benefits (only if you are 18 or older)

If you have a disability, you may be eligible to get money each month through the Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits program.

DAC is based on your parent’s work record. You can only get DAC if you are 18 or older. In order to qualify for DAC, you must also:

  • Have become disabled before you turned 22
  • Not be married, unless your spouse also gets SSDI or DAC
  • Meet the adult definition of disability, and
  • Have a parent who gets Social Security retirement benefits or SSDI. If your parent is deceased, you may also qualify

You don’t automatically get DAC when you turn 18. You can apply for it at your local Social Security Office, or by telephone at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778).

If you get DAC, you can also get health coverage through Medicare after a 24-month waiting period.

Note: When DAC benefits begin or when they go up, they might cause you to stop getting SSI. However, even if SSI stops, you might be able to keep your Medical Assistance (MA) health coverage, because MA has a special rule that helps people who stop getting SSI due to DAC. If you get DAC and stopped getting SSI because of your DAC benefits, Chat with a Hub expert and see whether MA's DAC disregard applies to you.

To learn more about DAC, Chat with a Hub expert.

Asset-Building Programs

Asset-building programs are a different type of benefit designed to help you save money you have earned. Instead of sending you a check or paying for your health care expenses, asset-building programs help you save money so that you can afford to pay for your own expenses, such as education, buying a car, or even retirement.

ABLE Accounts

If your disability began before you turned 26, you can open an ABLE account where over time you can save up to $100,000 in resources and not have them counted by SSI. ABLE accounts mean that if you get a job, you can start saving some money without losing your benefits. Additionally, the money in an ABLE account gets tax advantages similar to the way retirement accounts work.

However, ABLE accounts have restrictions:

  • They can only be opened through specific programs or institutions.
  • You can only open one ABLE account.
  • You and the other people making contributions on your behalf have a limit on how much you can deposit each year. Combined, you cannot deposit more than $15,000 in 2019.
  • You can only use money in an ABLE account for specific things, such as:
    • Education
    • Housing
    • Transportation
    • Help getting and keeping work
    • Health care
    • Assistive technology, and
    • Other approved expenses.
  • A person can only have one ABLE account.

Learn more about ABLE accounts.

Individual Development Accounts (IDA)

An IDA helps people save money for a specific goal, such as purchasing a home, starting a small business, or paying for education. The great thing about an IDA is that for every dollar you save, the bank or other financial institution where you have your account will match your money. For example, if you save $50 per month, the financial institution might contribute $100 per month. The amount they’ll contribute depends on the institution, but sometimes they will put more money into your account than you do!

To open an IDA:

  • You must have low income, and
  • The money you contribute must be money that you earned from work, not from a benefits check, your parents, or any other source
Important

If you are getting SSI, MSA, or MA benefits, it is very important that you enroll in an IDA that is federally funded through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA). The SSI, MSA, and MA programs do not count money deposited in those type of IDA, so your benefits won’t be jeopardized.

If you enroll in a non-federally funded IDA (for example, one funded by a non-profit or private company), money deposited and matched in your IDA could affect those benefits.

If you have any questions about this at all, Chat with a Hub expert for further information. IDA’s are a great money-saving tool, but you need to be sure and enroll in the right type of IDA so that you don’t jeopardize your benefits.

You can also read DB101’s IDA article to learn more.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) gives money to low to moderate income workers and families. Even people who don’t make enough money to owe income taxes may be able to get a check from the IRS if they qualify for this tax credit.

To qualify, the only requirement is that you have income from employment, self-employment, or employer-paid disability benefits received. If your income is too high, you will no longer qualify for the credit.

Be Sure to File Your Taxes

To get the Earned Income Tax Credit, you need to file your taxes, even if you owe nothing! Make sure to complete the “Schedule EIC” as well. This is free money, and lots of people don’t get it because they don’t know!

The amount of your EITC depends on your family size and income. The maximum credit for 2019 (filing by April 2020) ranges from $529 to $6,557. Make sure to file your taxes and apply!

For more details, read DB101’s Tax Credit page or Chat with a Hub expert.