Getting Diagnosed With Ankylosing Spondylitis
Then, in 2013, I was diagnosed with a debilitating disease called ankylosing spondylitis , a form of arthritis that can become very severe and primarily affects the spine. I was 26. Three years later, I applied for disability.
Accepting that I could no longer support myself with paid work was heart-wrenching, both because I enjoyed working and because SSDI is not a living wage.
The process involved two years of invasive forms, denials, appeals, and, finally, a hearing with a judge. Throughout the process, I survived on savings, occasional writing, gifts, and a sudden inheritance from my dad’s passing.
In the end, I became one of the lucky ones to be awarded disability benefits, and I do mean lucky. An average of 64% of disability claims have been denied in recent years, and roughly 10,000 people die annually just waiting for a decision about their cases.
Mortgage Programs With Higher Debt Ratios
With strong enough compensating factors, borrowers may qualify with higher than the old standard 36% maximum debt to income ratio. Actually, it is common for borrowers to receive approvals at 45%. Additionally, debt ratios up to 55% or even more is possible on VA and FHA loans! Conventional loanspotentially allow up to 50% debt to income ratio too.
State And Local Programs
There are also a variety of state and local programs throughout the country to take advantage of. These are put on by local governments and are generally restricted to the state, county, or city where the program is being offered from.
For example, the Chicago Housing Authority provides assistance for low-income individuals and families to find affordable housing. They offer vouchers and other assistance to make the process easier. They also a variety of utility allowances, which can further help reduce the cost of owning a home.
While this example is restricted to the city of Chicago, there are similar programs all throughout the country at various levels. It would be impossible to list them all here. So, make sure to do a bit of research to discover whats available in your area. This is another good reason to work with an experienced lender, as they can likely help find any local programs and assistance in the application process.
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Documenting Social Security Income
Lenders allow homeowners with Social Security income to qualify as long as they can document their Social Security income. Each year the Social Security Administration provides an awards letter to each person eligible for Social Security income. This awards letter outlines the amount of Social Security received each month for the following year. Mortgage lenders request a copy of the Social Security awards letter, the copy of the most recent one or two years of tax returns and a bank statement verifying they receive the funds.
Disability Benefits For Veterans
You may be eligible for disability benefits if you’re on disability from your service in the Canadian Armed Forces or Merchant Navy.
You may get social assistance payments from:
- your province or territory
- your First Nation
These payments will depend on your household income, savings and investments.
You may also be eligible for health-related benefits from your province or territory. These benefits may include benefits that help cover the cost of:
- medical aids or devices
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Additional Financial Assistance For Adults With Disabilities
There are additional financial assistance programs that can be utilized for low-income individuals with disabilities. Consider the following:
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs: Supplemental Security Income provides monthly financial assistance to adults and children with a disability. Even if you arent sure of your eligibility, you can complete the online process of applying for benefits. Once you have applied, a Social Security representative will contact you if they require further information. You can also apply by phone. To apply by phone call 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can call 1-800-325-0778.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides federally funded assistance for managing energy costs that include home energy bills, energy crises, as well as weatherization, and energy-related minor home repairs. To apply for LIHEAP, search for your local provider or call the DEA phone line at -401-9351.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families and individuals to purchase healthy foods.
Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program
HUDs homeownership vouchers can help pay for homeownership costs and mortgage payments. Families or individuals with disabilities do not need to meet the specific income and employment requirements that people without disabilities must meet.
- Be a first-time home buyer
- Attend and complete the Public Housing Agencies counseling program
- Meet additional requirements depending on your situation we recommend seeking guidance from a PHA counselor
- Great for: People who need mortgage assistance
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Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits
The Canada Pension Plan provides monthly payments to people who contribute to the plan during their working years.
You may be eligible for CPP disability benefits if:
- you contributed to the CPP for a certain number of years
- you’re under 65 years old
- you have a severe and prolonged mental or physical disability
- your disability prevents you from working on a regular basis
The benefits include payments to children of a person with a disability.
Apply as early as possible if you think you’re eligible for CPP disability benefits. Quebec residents may be eligible for a similar program called the Quebec Pension Plan . It may take several months to process your application.
If you applied for CPP or QPP disability benefits and were told that you’re not eligible, you can ask to have your application reviewed or considered again.
Once you reach age 65, your CPP disability benefit will automatically change to regular CPP payments. Your regular CPP payments may be less than the CPP disability payments you got before.
If so, consider:
Americans With Disabilities Act
Another important law to keep in mind when buying a home while youre disabled is the ADA or Americans With Disabilities Act. Put simply, this act requires that all disabled people are treated fairly in aspects of public life. This extends to home buying, as well as renting, and further prevents any sort of legal discrimination.
An important note, this act requires that the process is the same for all individuals. This means that a lender or seller cannot force a disabled individual to follow different processes, or pay extra fees. They must be on the same field as everyone else.
It also requires that a homeowner should be allowed to make reasonable accommodations to their property to fully enjoy it. This might come into play in a condo. For example, a disabled individual would be allowed to make modifications that others might be barred from making.
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Health Insurance Through The Health Insurance Marketplace
What help is available?
HealthCare.gov helps you find insurance options, compare care, learn about preventive services, and more. If your employer does not offer insurance, you’re self-employed, or you want to buy your own insurance, you can get it through the Marketplace. The Health Insurance Marketplace offers health, vision, and dental insurance for you and your family.
Am I eligible?
Everyone is eligible for health insurance through the Marketplace. You may also qualify for subsidies to help pay your premiums. If youve experienced a life change like childbirth or loss of a job, you may be able to make changes to your insurance in a special enrollment period.
How do I apply?
How you apply for a plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace depends on what plan you choose. Learn more about applying.
How do I complain or where do I call for extra help?
Visit the Health Insurance Marketplace’s top questions section for more help with finding or applying for health care. To file a complaint, call .
Is there anything else I need to know?
If you need more help getting or paying for medical care, try these resources:
You may qualify for financial assistance programs to help with eye exams, surgery, prescriptions, or glasses.
If you are uninsured or underinsured and must seek emergency medical treatment:
Verifying Your Social Security Disability Income
The lender will need proof of your Social Security Disability benefits from your local Social Security Administration field office. You can most likely get this documentation by making a call to them or by visiting them in person. If you plan a visit to the office, call to confirm hours of operation. The SSA can provide you with a copy of your award letter that says how long you have been disabled and your current monthly benefit rate. Your award letter will also indicate how often your claim will be reviewed to determine if you still qualify for disability benefits. This review period is usually anywhere from 3 to 5 years.
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Contact The Ssa With Questions
If you have questions about the home exclusion, the SSA will be able to answer them for you. The SSA is available Monday through Friday, 800-772-1213. If you want to talk to someone in person, you can go to your local Social Security field office. Make sure you call your field office ahead of time to see if you need an appointment.
Financial Help For People With Disabilities
An individual with a disability can apply for financial help through the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers program though the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development . This is a housing program run by the federal government that provides assistance to low and moderate-income families with disabilities who want to rent or buy a home by offering subsidies to qualified applicants. This program is available to first-time home buyers and also provides assistance to people who need help making their mortgage payments.
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Social Security Disability Insurance Barely Covered My Rent
When I was awarded disability in 2018, my monthly payments were $970. My rent was $800, which I knew would increase faster than my income. I had negotiated against a rent increase during my years-long disability fight, but the temporary reprieve meant I held my breath each day I checked my mail.
I had to move quickly to get into more secure and stable housing. I suddenly had plenty of money because of the disability back pay I received , but it was only security until it ran out.
I hoped to use most of it about $65,000 for a down payment on a house, but timing was critical because Medicare and Medicaid have asset limits. I risked losing healthcare by having more than $2,000 in my bank account. Even if I paid for my healthcare out of pocket, I couldn’t afford to wait and see if I would be one of the lucky few accepted for public housing after years-long wait lists.
I had to buy a house as a matter of survival.
In Sacramento, California, where my specialized medical care and community are, the cheapest homes were between $150,000 and $200,000. I had learned to live frugally, relying on a budget of less than $1,000 each month. I knew I could afford a home costing between $160,000 and $170,000, having done extensive research and budgeting.
But, even with my high credit score, no lender would approve me. I asked my mother to co-sign on a mortgage, but she said she couldn’t. A friend offered to co-sign, but we weren’t pre-approved.
I held onto hope.
Land Separated By Another Person’s Property
If you own land on which your home is located that is divided up by another person’s property, only the value of the land on which your home actually sits will be excluded. For example, if you own ten acres and your home is only located on two acres, and the remaining eight acres are separated from the two by a tract of land owned by someone else, only the two acres on which your home sits will be excluded. The value of the remaining eight acres will be included when the SSA determines your assets.
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Im A Disabled Veteran Whats The Best Way To Buy A Home
The VA offers multiple grants and programs to help disabled veterans buy a home. The best first step is to contact your local VA, and discuss what options are available to you, and what sort of benefits your disability qualifies for.
It also depends on whether your disability was caused by your service.
In addition to the VA programs, there are many nonprofits that offer housing to disabled veterans.
How To Sell My House While On Social Security Disability
When you’re on Social Security Disability, it can seem difficult to do normal, every day tasks. Taking on a large, stressful task like selling your home can be physically difficult and may require additional help. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take not only to sell your home without hurting yourself, but to ensure you get the best price possible. If you have good friends and family nearby, you may be able to draw upon them and avoid hiring additional professional help, but you should expect to hire some outside labor for some of the more specialized parts of the home-selling process.
Mortgage Programs For Disabled Home Buyers
Special mortgages exist for people withdisabilities, and for parents buying a home for a disabled child.
In addition, there are mortgage programs forable-bodied people who live with qualified disabled residents. Forinstance, a caretaker who shares a home with their disabled sibling mightget a special mortgage.
If you receive government disability income,you are probably eligible for several mortgage programs. Thats also true ifyou work but earn a low income.
Program requirements depend on who will own andoccupy the property, and how the occupants will pay their mortgage. They alsodepend on whether the program is federal, state, or local.
Here are several of the best-known programs.
Advantages Of Home Ownership For People With Disabilities
Many people who live with a physical or mental disability don’t own their own home. Instead, they live in institutions, group homes, or with their parents. These are not the best living arrangements to foster a sense of independence.
When a person with a disability owns his or her own home, that individual may feel more like a part of the community. This type of living arrangement allows them to feel connected to others in a way that living in an environment where someone else makes the rules does not.
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Buying A House On Disability Benefits Or Ssi
Brittan Jenkins19 Jan 2018
By on 23 Mar 2018
The dollars and cents that go into moving vary greatly depending on a number of factors.
Know how to navigate the system so you can find the home youre looking for.
The complexities of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits leave many people wondering not only if they can buy a home, but if buying a home will, in turn, affect their benefits in the future. The short answer is many people who receive SSDI and SSI benefits can and do qualify to buy a home, but will also likely face some additional hurdles unique to receiving these benefits.
The Ssa Can’t Consider Some Factors When It Determines Intent To Return
The SSA may still allow you the home exclusion if you have to leave your home but can’t return to it for reasons beyond your control. This can happen if, for example, you are hospitalized or your home is damaged. In this circumstance, the SSA will make a decision based on your statement of whether you intend to return to the home and will not take into account the following factors:
- your age
- your mental health , or
- “other circumstances” .
Here are some examples.
Mr. Anthony was n 85 year-old man who was hospitalized in the intensive care unit. His doctor advised him that he may not be able to go back home even after discharge from the ICU but might be required to move into a nursing home facility. Despite this, Mr. Anthony advised the SSA that he hoped his health improved and he intended to go back to his home to live. Even though the Mr. Smith probably would be unable to return to his home, his statement about his “intent to return” satisfied the SSA’s requirements and his entitlement to the home exclusion continued.
Ms. Peterson began living with her mother after a storm made her home unlivable. Ms. Peterson advised the SSA she planned on returning to her home even though she didn’t know when she would be able to afford repairs. In this case, the SSA concluded that Ms. Peterson demonstrated her “intent to return” and her right to the home exclusion continued.
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Buying A House On Ssi
Buying a home while on SSI comes with its own set of unique challenges. Most notably, SSI rules limit the amount of income or assets you can have while remaining eligible for benefits. As a result, having enough money to buy a home but not too much that you lose benefits can be a fine line.
Because people on SSI cant have assets valued at more than $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple, saving up enough cash for a down payment to even consider buying a home is difficult. On the bright side, not all assets count toward those limits. Case in point: The home you live in is considered your primary residence and is not considered an asset.
Although you might face additional challenges, buying a home on SSI is still possible. Lenders look at your income and credit score, just like they would with any other loan applicant. But even if your credit score and income arent up to par, there are programs in place to help you get into a home. Need to find a lender? You can use Zillow to quickly find a lender whos licensed to work in your area.
If you do acquire a home loan, it doesnt count as income and doesnt reduce your SSI benefits.