What benefits are available to those suffering from serious mental illness?

Answer. The benefits depend upon degree of disability. Those that are simply unable to work, can receive full benefits under the Federal Social Security program.

Answer. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid health care program. This program pays for a variety of medical services for children and adults with limited income and resources. Medi-Cal is supported by federal and state taxes. You can apply for Medi-Cal benefits regardless of sex, race, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or veteran status. People enroll in Medi-Cal through their county social services department. If you are found (or determined) eligible, you can continue to get Medi-Cal as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

Answer. Generally, you are eligible for Medicare if you or your spouse worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment and you are 65 years old and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. You might also qualify for coverage if you are a younger person with a disability.

Answer. Medicaid is a jointly-funded, Federal-State health insurance program for certain low-income and needy people. It covers approximately 36 million individuals including children, the aged, blind, and/or disabled, and people who are eligible to receive federally assisted income maintenance payments.

How do I apply for SSI?

To apply for SSI benefits, you must contact the Social Security Administration to make an appointment. The phone number is 1-800-772-1213 (TTY phone connection at 1-800-325-0778); it is confidential and has 24-hour automated service. Applicants must file a claim by phone or in person at a local social security office. Representatives are available to help with the application process.

Effective January 2004, the SSI payment for an eligible individual is $564 per month and $846 per month for an eligible couple. California adds additional payments to this amount (a table of SSI payment amounts can be found by clicking here), and usually people who receive SSI automatically receive Medi-Cal benefits. SSI recipients do not get food stamps, because this allowance is included in the SSI payment.

To qualify for SSI, the applicant must have little or no income and few resources. This means that the value of the things you own must be less than $2,000 if you are single or less than $3,000 if you are married. The value of your home, car, and many other resources does not count.

More information is available by clicking here.

Who can help me if I have been turned down for SSI?

Health Consumer Alliance (see the Web site for toll-free phone numbers listed by county)

National Senior Citizens Law Center

National Immigration Law Center (see the Web site for toll-free phone numbers)

Protection and Advocacy, Inc.

(legal services for people with disabilities)

California Indian Legal Services

Directory of California Legal Services

(hosted on Public Interest Clearinghouse Web site)

*This information originally provided on the California Healthcare Foundation website