Social Security Disability does not pay for college. However, those receiving disability benefits can seek Vocational Rehabilitation benefits, which can help pay for college and other types of training. There are also various disability-related scholarships and awards that can supplement students’ expenses.
Does the Social Security Administration (SSA) Pay for College Courses?
The SSA used to provide “college student benefits” but phased those out in 1981. Currently, there is no specific education benefit offered with Social Security Disability programs.
That being said, there are other state-funded programs that help with tuition costs. It is important to note that these programs require applications; you don’t automatically qualify.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
You Can Receive Survivor Benefits Until You Come of Age
The SSA offers something called “survivor benefits.” For instance, if your spouse or parent passed away, you can still receive benefits, per the SSA.
As a minor before 1981, you could receive survivor benefits until you turned 22 years old. That’s no longer the case. You generally can receive survivor benefits until you turn 18 years old. However, if you’re still in secondary school, you may receive benefits until two months after your nineteenth birthday.
Our lawyers can assess your situation and explain what you’re entitled to receive.
What Types of Programs Can Help Disabled Persons with College Tuition?
The first source to look into is the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). The OVR provides services to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment – as well as help paying for college.
The next place you can contact to inquire about getting help paying for college is the U.S. Department of Education (DoED). The DoED offers various federal student aid programs, such as Federal Pell Grants and Stafford Loans. For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid Information Center, or call them at 1-800-433-3243.
There are also a lot of opportunities specifically geared towards students with disabilities. Here are a few that you might want to research:
- College Scholarships
- Foundation for Science and Disability Science Student Grant Fund
- Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award
- Incight Go-Getter Scholarship
- Google Lime Scholarship
- NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship
- CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program
Some colleges and universities offer scholarships through their own departments. For instance, the University of Pennsylvania offers year-round scholarships for students with disabilities. Some higher-education institutions exclusively offer programs for disabled individuals.
These Resources Could Help Pay for College
Another thing you can do is to Google educational scholarships for your specific type of disability. For instance, type in “college scholarships for people with MS” and see what comes up.
There are numerous organizations that offer financial aid to students with certain disabilities. Some of these organizations include:
- The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- The Spina Bifida Association of America
- The American Council of the Blind
- The National Center for Learning Disabilities
Other general resources to research include:
- Your employer(s)
- Religious groups
- Your Chamber of Commerce
- Not-for-profit organizations in your area
You can also go to your school’s financial aid office and ask if it has any suggestions.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Social Security Disability Benefits Cover These Expenses
While Social Security Disability benefits don’t pay for college, they do cover:
- Health insurance. You may qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, depending on your situation.
- Monthly cash benefits. You can allot some money to pay for college courses. Your cash benefits depend on your age, work history, and other factors.
Your benefits’ specific details depend on whether you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The SSA Asks These Questions When Evaluating Applications
If you’re thinking about applying for benefits, you must show the SSA that you have an impairment that harms your earning ability. The SSA keeps a list of impairments in its “Blue Book.” This document lists dozens of conditions that qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Additionally, when assessing your application, the SSA will ask these questions:
- Are you currently working?
- Does your condition affect basic work-related activities?
- Is your condition listed in the Blue Book?
- Can you do the work you did previously?
- Can you work in any capacity?
The SSA may use other considerations when evaluating your application. While an approval wouldn’t pay for college, it could provide other benefits that ease your financial strain.
There’s a Difference Between SSDI and SSI
If you’re curious about applying for disability benefits, you may qualify for these programs: SSDI and SSI. Here’s the key difference between the two:
- SSDI depends on your work history. The number of work credits you need for SSDI depends on your age.
- SSI depends on your countable resources. You cannot have more than $2,000 in countable assets to qualify for SSI. Countable assets include cash, life insurance, stocks, bonds, and vehicles.
If you qualify for SSI, chances are, you qualify for financial aid offered by your college or university. Check with your school’s financial aid office to learn more.
Why Partner with Our Law Firm on Your Disability Application
The SSA denies 53 percent of disability applications upon their first submission. It can take anywhere from three to five months to get a decision. You reasonably want benefits as soon as possible.
Our co-founder, Cynthia C. Berger, has reviewed more than 50,000 disability applications during her career. Her team knows what separates approved applications from denied ones. We can evaluate your application, suggest changes, and monitor your application’s progress.
Berger and Green Offers Legal Assistance to Disability Claimants
Our lawyers have more than 40 years of experience fighting for disabled claimants’ rights. Together, we can explore applying for disability benefits, appealing a denial, and more.
We regularly post updates about applying for disability on our blog and Facebook page. We also offer free case reviews to claimants interested in exploring their options. To connect with Berger and Green, dial (412) 661-1400.