Disability Benefits

Assistance for Eligible Individuals

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI provides cash benefits to eligible individuals with disabilities. In most states, children who get SSI also qualify for free medical care through Medicaid (MediCal in California). Financial and disability rules apply.

For information about eligibility, call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (EST).

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI provides monthly cash payments to eligible workers and sometimes to their dependent children. Rules of eligibility apply for workers. To apply or learn more about eligibility, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.


Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) is the federal-state program that provides free medical care to children and adults. Eligibility varies among states. To apply, see http://www.cms.hhs.gov/medicaid/statemap.asp for a list of the state Medicaid toll-free numbers.

Family Support

Some states set aside special funds to support families raising children with disabilities. Rules for eligibility vary among states. A list of family support programs is available from the National Center for Family Support at http://www.familysupport-hsri.org.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

The WIC program provides free food and formula to eligible women and children. It also educates women about proper nutrition and provides referrals to health care providers. For a list of toll-free numbers by state, see http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic.

Adopting Children with Disabilities

Parents who adopt children with special needs may qualify for assistance. The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse can provide information about adopting a child with special needs. See http://naic.acf.hhs.gov and click on “Prospective and Adoptive Parents,” then on “Preparation for Adoption ” and then click on “Introduction to adoption.”

Regional Center Services

In California, 21 regional centers help individuals with developmental disabilities and their families plan, access, and coordinate services. Regional centers contract with nonprofit and for-profit organizations (“service providers”) to support individuals with developmental disabilities. Regional centers are private nonprofit organizations that arrange, fund, and monitor services provided by service provider organizations. See California Resources for more information.