Federal Disability Benefits

Social Security Administration (SSA) Benefits — Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — help individuals with disabilities secure regular income, health insurance, and other basic needs to achieve stabilization opening up the option to consider paths to meaningful employment.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI is designed to provide income supplements to people who are physically restricted in their ability to be employed due to disability. SSDI is based on contributions by employees and employers to the Social Security trust fund.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The SSI program provides monthly cash assistance to people who are disabled, blind, or elderly and have little income and few assets.

Medicare and Medicaid

People found eligible for SSI are automatically enrolled in Medicaid which is a need-based, free medical care program that pays for a certain number of doctor visits and prescriptions. If approved for SSDI, you will receive Medicare (though a wait period may apply). SSDI recipients may also be eligible for Medicaid.

Securing SSDI or SSI
  • Get help applying for disability benefits such as SSI or SSDI in Colorado by outreaching to a local Center for Independent Living (CIL). Staff can help you understand how Social Security disability benefits like SSI and SSDI can help maximize your income. If you qualify, they can help you apply for these benefits while you work or pursue employment. Learn more and locate Centers for Independent Living here.
  • SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery, or SOAR, is a program to help people with disabilities become eligible for disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Individuals who are or could find themselves at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder are a primary focus population for SOAR services. Locate SOAR resources in Colorado through this directory.
Veterans Administration (VA) Benefits
  • VA disability compensation, or pay, offers monthly, tax-free payments to Veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military and to Veterans whose service made an existing condition worse. Find out if you may qualify for these benefits by visiting the eligibility page for VA disability benefits.
Regain Meaningful Employment and Self-Sufficiency
  • Benefits counseling can help you understand how work will impact benefits as you envision a path to work. A common myth is that receiving benefits precludes people with disabilities from entering into employment. Visit our benefits counseling page to find a resource to fit your needs.
JFK Partner Logo

The Colorado Office of Employment First sits under JFK Partners, the state’s University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, a program of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Its creation was envisioned by Colorado Employment First Advisory Partnership (EFAP), a multi-state agency and stakeholder-led collaborative, and was made possible, in part, by funding from the Colorado Legislature and generously matched through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).

© 2023 Colorado Office of Employment First. All Rights Reserved.

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