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Top 5 Social Programs for People With Schizophrenia


Updated December 07, 2007

Even in remission, people with schizophrenia usually have some degree of long-term disability from residual symptoms, and their ability to earn income is usually affected as well. The programs listed here exist to provide a safety net to help meet your basic needs for housing, food and medical care. This list provides links to official government websites for these programs, to help you learn if you're eligible and how to apply.

1. Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays monthly cash benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more. You may qualify to receive SSDI based on (1) Social Security taxes you paid through working before you became disabled, or (2) Social Security taxes paid by your parent or spouse.

2. Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monthly payments to people with low income who are disabled, blind or over 65. SSI payments are designed to cover basic needs such as housing, clothing and food. You do not have to have paid Social Security taxes to qualify for SSI. If you qualify for SSI you may also qualify for other income-based programs like Medicaid and Food Stamps.

3. Medicaid

Medicaid pays for medical care for low-income people who qualify. Each state has its own rules about who qualifies, what medical services are covered, and what share of the cost the person must pay. Medicaid payments go directly to the health care provider. Most states' Medicaid programs cover some psychiatric medications.

4. Medicare

Medicare is the health insurance component of the Social Security system. Like SSDI, you qualify for Medicare based on the Social Security taxes you paid when you worked, or those paid by your parent or spouse. To qualify for Medicare you must be over 65 years old, disabled or blind. Medicare has a Prescription Drug Benefit that may help pay for your medications.

5. Food Stamps

The Food Stamp Program helps people with low income buy food. Like Medicaid, Food Stamps are a state-run program that receives Federal funds. If you qualify, you will receive an electronic card that looks and works like a debit card that you can use to buy food at most grocery stores.
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