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What are government benefits for some adults?

GOVERNMENT BENEFITS FOR SOME ADULTS: If you have special needs, you should explore the option of government programs which are designed to help you live as independently as possible. Any benefits you may have received as a child do not automatically transfer over to adulthood.

At age 18, you must make new applications for benefits.  If you have a case manager through the Department of Health and Human Services, or your local Department of Community Mental Health,  also known as a supports coordinator, that person will help you apply for all of the programs for which you may be eligible.


By age 18 you must apply for government programs for yourself (with help from a support person, such as a parent if needed).You must complete the applications, and you must follow up with all required paperwork. If you don’t do this you will be denied benefits that you might otherwise be entitled to receive.


Here are some common Government benefit programs that help people with special needs:


Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This program provides financial assistance to SOME people with disabilities who have very few assets and very low income. Your diagnosis doesn’t matter, what matters is your individual abilities and your individual challenges, and whether Social Security decides that these reach the level at which you are eligible.

Contact your local Social Security office. Call them the month before your 18th birthday, and tell them that you wish to become eligible on your 18th birthday. This way you will not lose out on benefits that you might be entitled to.

You may opt for a telephone interview to apply, but it’s often best to meet the people who will be deciding whether or not you are eligible.


Gather up the information that you will need: your Social Security number, prior IEP’s, medical evaluations and the like.

Disabled adult child benefits, (DAC BENEFITS) or Social Security disability benefits.

If one of your parents is disabled or retired, and gets benefits through Social Security, you may be entitled to get benefits through their work record. You must meet the threshold requirement of “disability” sufficient to be eligible, and must have been diagnosed before age 22.

It is always best to qualify through SSI first, or you could lose access To a lifetime’s worth over extraordinarily valuable Medicaid benefits. This is one case where it could easily make great sense to consult a lawyer.


Medicaid provides several large benefit programs that are important to think about.


The first is health insurance.  Your parents may be able to cover you on their health insurance until you’re 26 years old, or you may get health insurance through your employer. If you don’t, Medicaid could provide healthcare coverage to you.

If you are eligible for SSI, you are automatically eligible in Michigan for Medicaid benefits.


If you are not eligible for SSI, you may be eligible to purchase low-cost health insurance through Michigan’s Healthy Michigan plan. Apply through Mi Bridges.


Medicaid has many different “waiver” programs; each is a bit different as to what it provides and what you must show to be eligible. If you become eligible for Medicaid, Your case worker will help you apply for the programs for which you are eligible.

One major class of Medicaid benefits includes Managed specialty support services (B2 supports). These services include, for example, autism services, speech and occupational therapy, community living supports programs, training programs and the like. These are extremely important benefits.

Apply to your county’s department of community mental health by your 18th birthday.

If you are eligible, you will be assigned a case worker who will help you apply for any benefits through Medicaid that you might be eligible for. Your case worker will also work with you through Person Centered Planning (PCP) to develop an individual plan of services (IPOS) for you, focusing on the supports and services that you need to become and to live as independently as possible.    

Nutrition Assistance

Eligible adults can apply if they live outside of their parents’ home and meet eligibility requirements.

Section 8 Housing/Housing Choice Voucher Program

The housing choice voucher program provides assistance to very low-income families to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing. Housing can include single-family homes, townhouses and apartments and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects. If you are interested in applying for a voucher, contact the local Public Housing Authority.

MRS – Michigan Rehabilitation Services  MRS can help eligible adults to get a job; they provide job development services and support. MRS may also support you in enrolling in programs that help you to be job-ready.  Start the application process with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.


(Clicking on one of the links below will take you away from

Supplemental Security Income - On the home page you can get SSA forms (labeled SSA-#) and SSA publications. There are lots of good publications on Social Security related matters.

Social Security Administration

Healthy Michigan Low-Cost Health Insurance


Nutrition Assistance


Section 8 Housing

Public Housing Authority


Michigan Rehabilitiation Services

Michigan Secretary of State

Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services Application Process

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