Well, unfortunately, Social Security disability will not pay for college. However, those receiving disability benefits may be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation benefits which can help pay for college and other types of training. There are also various disability-related scholarships and awards students can look into to supplement their educational expenses.
The SSA used to provide what was often referred to as “college student benefits,” but phased those out in 1981 when Congress passed the Reconciliation Act Repeal of Social Security. Currently, there is no specific education benefit offered with Social Security disability programs.
That being said, there are other state-funded programs that do help with tuition costs. It is important to note that these programs require applications. So, what types of programs can help disabled persons with college tuition?
The first source to look into is the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, which provides services to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment — one of those services is help paying for college. You will have to apply for benefits, but many people who are not working because of a disability qualify.
Additionally, make sure you contact the SSA if you are unsure about how educational financial aid will affect your SSI benefits. This is important because depending on the type and amount of the financial aid, your SSI payments could be stopped, or you could lose your eligibility. You can call the SSA at 800-772-1213 or visit your local field office to speak with someone in person.
In short, you should attend college if your disability allows it. For instance, if you are physically handicapped and can no longer work because of it, but you can get into and out of handicapped-accessible buses to and from school and access classrooms, your disability would allow you to attend school. On the other hand, if you have a brain injury that prevents you from remembering material, it may be harder to justify going to school. If you are attending school full time and under 22, you may be able to earn up to a certain amount per month (which is adjusted annually) without it affecting your disability payments. The rules surrounding disability eligibility and your ability to attend school can be complicated, so you may want to consider getting help from an attorney with expertise in disability law.
Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman PC understand the complex SSDI application process and the information necessary to receive approval while maximizing the financial support you need for your condition. We also have a thorough knowledge of the appeals process and can help you assemble the additional information necessary to bolster your claim if you’ve been denied.
If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and need assistance filing your SSDI application or making an appeal, please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation.