How to Survive on Social Security Disability

Having to cope with, and pay, the bills when you’re relying on social security disability can be difficult. Once you’ve downsized and evaluated your spending, you might still have your back against the wall. But there are some things that you could do to make your benefits stretch longer and make ends meet. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to survive on social disability.

Check if You’re Eligible for Additional Assistance

If you’re really struggling at the moment, you can always check if you or people in your family could be eligible for benefits. There are some auxiliary benefits some of the people in your household may be eligible for, which could alleviate some of the weight off of your shoulders. You should also check if you’re eligible for medical assistance, food stamps, or supplemental security income. However, you have to note that these will be calculated based on need, and if your household is above a certain limit, you may not have access to them.

Look at Social Security Loans

If you make too much to qualify for SSI, but finances are still tight, you could consider social security loans. If your sole income source is social security, however, you have to be aware of the criteria that will be used to know whether you’re eligible. Things like your age, amount of current debt, credit score, assets, marital status, savings and dependencies will all be looked at to see if you can qualify for a loan.

While these will be the main criteria used by lenders to see if you’re eligible, each will have their own formula and main factors used for evaluating risk. If you feel like you’re at a disadvantage for most of these criteria, then it would be wise to talk with a lender directly first to gauge your chances before you make an application. It’s very important that you keep applications to a minimum since multiple inquiries can have a negative effect on your credit score.

Start Couponing

When most people are trying to find solutions to stretch their social security benefits, a lot will try looking at things like low income housing and subsidies. But learning how to be savvy with couponing could save you tons of money and allow you to spend less without sacrificing your lifestyle.

People who know how to use coupons can save up to $50 and more on their weekly grocery bills. Coupons combined with sales are especially powerful and could have a significant impact on your monthly spending. You also don’t have to spend hours clipping coupons anymore; there are plenty of apps and websites that will offer exclusive deals.

You should also use coupons to stock up and buy as many non perishables as you can. Look for coupons that don’t have limits on them and buy as much as you can. If you’re looking for an app, you should definitely consider trying iBotta. iBotta will allow you to check for coupons for different stores. Once you’re done shopping, all you’ll have to do is scan the items and get the difference deposited straight into your PayPal account once you reach $20.

Consider Energy Assistance

If you’re eligible for food stamps and SSI, then chances are you qualify for energy assistance as well. However, energy assistance is not continuous and will usually only cover you once a year.  You can either apply for emergency or regular assistance. But, not everyone who is eligible for energy assistance will get it. They will look at details like your energy source, the size of your household, your income, and where you live, among other things. Regular assistance is available for anybody who is on disability benefits, and emergency assistance is for people over 55 who have had their gas or electricity disconnected or run out of heating oil.

Try to Get Additional Income

One common misconception among people who are on disability benefits is that they can’t earn any type of additional income. But that’s not true. You can still earn additional income as long as it’s not over $720 per month. You could try selling some of your stuff on eBay, for instance. Even something as simple as babysitting for friends or relatives could give you enough income to supplement your current revenue and help you stay afloat.

Consider Income-Based Housing

Housing is also a major expense for anyone who’s living on disability benefits. One thing you could do is look at apartments where the rent will be calculated based on your Social Security income. Some apartments accommodate the elderly and people with disabilities specifically. In most cases, you’ll pay much less than you would if you were to pay market value.

Another thing you could consider is moving to a more affordable municipality, close to where you live. Just moving a few miles away from where you are currently to a smaller town or suburb could allow you to save a lot on your monthly rent. However, it’s important that you consider the living conditions where you’ll be moving to. You also have to know how accessible the city is for people with disabilities.

School Meal Programs

If you have young children who go to school, you should also check if they have a meal program and whether you’re eligible. Some will have reduced or free meal programs for parents in difficulty. Some will offer free breakfast or lunch for parents who might be struggling financially. Check with your school and ask them what the criteria are, and explain your current situation to see if they can offer any help.


Living on social security disability is never easy, especially when you have people under your charge. However, these few tips should help to at least make things easier. Make sure that you check all the additional benefits you might have access to and make sure that you do everything you can to downsize your spending without sacrificing your well being.