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Navigating benefits can feel like a team sport at times. These resources include key players that may become part of your winning team. 

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The Resources You Need, When You Need them

Knowing where to turn when you need help is important. This page contains links to key organizations that offer services and support. You can click on the section title on the right or scroll down the page.

Washington State Benefits Planning Resources

Benefits planning can help you understand and manage your cash and medical benefits. When you go through benefits planning, you meet with a Certified Benefits Planner who can:

In Washington State, benefits planning services are currently offered by (Click the accordion title to learn more):

Provides benefit planning services, as well as online tools and resources to help people manage their public benefits. BenefitU is a project of Wise and funded by Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA).

  • Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and age 14 or older. 
  • What is Offered: Benefit Analysis and review of benefit status; loss of benefit and overpayment support; explore work incentives; general questions and information.

Offers job placement and support, as well as benefits planning to people signed up for their services. 

  • Eligibility Requirements: Washington State DVR is available to people aged 16 or older who have a disability that impacts their ability to find and keep work. 
  • What is Offered: DVR supports a person to prepare for, find or keep a job. DVR also offers benefit planning and other services.

For More Information: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/dvr/about-dvr

Offers benefit planning services to people in many parts of Washington State* who receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration and are working or want to work.

*Plan to Work does not serve: Pacific, Lewis, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Benton, Franklin, and Walla Walla.

  • Eligibility Requirements: Receiving benefits from Social Security Administration and currently working or looking for work.
  • What is offered: Benefit planning, exploring work incentives, general benefits management. 

For More Information: https://plantowork.org/

Offers benefit planning services in Southern Washington* to people who receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration and are working or want to work. 

*Plan for Work provides support in the following Washington counties: Pacific, Lewis, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Benton, Franklin, and Walla Walla 

  • Eligibility Requirements: Aged 14 years to retirement age, currently eligible for SSI or Title II benefits, and currently working or looking for work. 
  • What is offered: Benefit planning, exploring work incentives, general benefits management. 

For More Information: https://www.droregon.org/plan-for-work

Provides free financial coaching and benefits planning for youth and adults with disabilities in Washington and Oregon.

  •  Eligibility: Open to individuals with disabilities of all ages, income levels.
  • What is offered: Financial coaching and benefits planning for youth and adults, overpayment, and money management workshops. 

For More Information: https://www.nwaccessfund.org/

Social Security

Social Security is a U.S. government program that provides cash and medical benefits to people who are retired, disabled, or have lost a family member who was working. The resources below may help you  access and manage your Social Security benefits.

The official website of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).

  • Eligibility Requirements: Social Security benefit eligibility can vary by program. It is best to speak with Social Security or login to your MySSA account to explore benefit eligibility.
  • What is offered: Application for SSA benefits; benefit estimations; find your local office; request a new Social Security card.

For More Information: www.ssa.gov

SSA’s My Social Security account (MySSA) allows you to access information about your Social Security benefits, replace a Social Security card, check on your benefit application, and estimate future benefits. 

  • Eligibility: To create a MySSA account, you need to be at least 18 years old and have a Social Security number, email address, mailing address in the U.S., and internet access. 
  • What is offered: With a MySSA account, you can:
      • Check your future benefits and earnings history.
      • Update your contact and banking info.
      • Apply for retirement, disability, or Medicare benefits.
      • Request a replacement Social Security card.
      • Access important documents like benefit verification letters.
      • Get help with your Social Security questions and needs.
      • Report changes and earned income.

For More Information: www.ssa.gov/myaccount

If you are applying for SSI and need help, Social Security can help you. 

  • Eligibility Requirements: Currently applying for SSI cash benefits. 
  • What is offered: One-on-one help with your SSI application. Once a request has been made, Social Security will send you an appointment date and time by letter and email within 7-14 business days.

For More Information: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/start.html

The Ticket-to-Work program helps people with disabilities find and keep a job. It offers career counseling, training, and job placement assistance. When you join the program, you get a “ticket” that can be used to work with service providers who can help you reach your employment goals. 

  • Eligibility Requirements: To qualify for the Ticket-to-Work program, you must:
    • Be between 18 and 64 years old.
    • Receive Title II or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
    • Want to work and build independence.
    • Be willing to work with service providers to achieve your employment goals.
  • What is offered: Ticket-to-Work ‘Employment Networks’ may provide:
    • Vocational rehabilitation services.
    • Job search and placement services.
    • Career counseling.
    • Work incentives planning.
    • Support services.
    • Benefits counseling.
    • Follow-up support.

For More Information: https://choosework.ssa.gov/

Medical Benefits

Public Health benefits may include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and health plans available through the Healthcare Exchange. These programs offer a variety of benefits and coverage to help meet your medical needs.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program used by people aged 65 and older and some younger individuals with disabilities. It helps cover costs like hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescription drugs.

  • Eligibility Requirements: Medicare eligibility requires that a person be:
    • Aged 65 and older.
    • Aged under 65 with certain disabilities, such as receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Childhood Disability Benefits.
    • Individuals of any age with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
  • What is offered: People signed up for Medicare coverage may receive: 
    • Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
    • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
    • Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)
    • Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)

These parts can work together to provide broad healthcare coverage to Medicare beneficiaries.

For More Information: https://www.medicare.gov/

 

Statewide Health Insurance Benefit Advisors (SHIBA)

SHIBA provides free help to Washingtonians who want to understand Medicare plans.

  • Eligibility Requirements: SHIBA is available to people of all ages and backgrounds who are accessing Medicare or looking for Medicare enrollment support.
  • What is offered: SHIBA volunteers answer Medicare related questions, help compare plans and coverage needs, and can support you when applying for benefits

For More Information: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/statewide-health-insurance-benefits-advisors-shiba

Washington Health Care Authority (HCA)

The Washington Healthcare Authority provides access to important health care and support services such as Medicaid / Apple Health and DDA Waiver services. This includes in-home care and specialized therapies. HCA’s goal is to improve your quality of life by offering these essential services tailored to your needs.

  • Eligibility Requirements: 
    • Household income below Medicaid standard
    • US Citizen or meets immigration requirements
    • Other requirements may vary by program
  • What is offered: Apple Health offers full major medical coverage to eligible people. You can receive these services either through managed care or without it (also called fee-for-service). Coverage may include: 
    • Appointments with a doctor or healthcare provider when you need them.
    • Emergency medical care.
    • Care for moms-to-be and newborns.
    • Mental health services.
    • Support for dealing with drug or alcohol dependence.
    • Care for kids, including dental and vision check-ups.
    • Some dental and vision care for adults.
    • Medicine prescribed by your doctor.
    • Lab tests.
    • Hospital stays
    • Rides to and from your appointments if you can’t get there on your own.
    • If you don’t speak English, you can get an interpreter for your appointments through your provider.

For More Information: https://www.hca.wa.gov/

Tricare is a healthcare program for people connected to the military, like service members, their families, and retirees. It helps cover medical costs for things like doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription drugs. Tricare helps military families get the healthcare they need, whether they’re on active duty, retired, or family members.

  • Eligibility Requirements: 
    • Active-Duty Service Members
    • National Guard and Reserve Members
    • Retired Service Members
    • Family Members of Active Duty, Retired, or Deceased Service Members
    • Survivors of Deceased Service Members
    • Medically Retired Service Members
    • Former Spouses
    • Certain Others (e.g., Medal of Honor recipients, certain foreign military personnel)
  • What is offered: Tricare offers a variety of plans for enrollees. Depending on the plan selected, coverage may include:
    • Preventive Care and Doctor Visits
    • Hospital and Emergency care visits
    • Prescription Drugs
    • Mental Health Services
    • Maternity Care
    • Rehabilitation Services
    • Home Health Care
    • Dental and Vision Care (depending on the plan)

For more information: https://www.tricare.mil/

The Washington Healthplanfinder is an online marketplace where people in Washington State can shop for and sign up for health insurance plans. It offers a range of options, including private insurance plans and public benefits like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Washington residents can use the Healthplanfinder to compare plans, check their eligibility for financial assistance, and enroll in coverage that meets their needs. 

  • Eligibility Requirements: Eligibility requirements for using the Washington Healthplanfinder generally depend on the type of coverage sought, such as private insurance plans or public programs like Medicaid and CHIP. However, some common eligibility criteria for using the Healthplanfinder include:
    • Living in Washington State
    • U.S. citizenship, U.S. nationality, or eligible immigration status
    • Household income within specified limits
    • Household size
    • Age (for certain programs)
    • Access to employer-provided health insurance
    • Special circumstances qualifying for a Special Enrollment Period
  • What is offered: Through the Washington Healthplanfinder, individuals can access a variety of options, including:
    • Private Health Insurance Plans: Coverage offered by private insurance companies, including different levels of coverage.
    • Medicaid: A state and federally funded program that provides free or low-cost health coverage to eligible low-income individuals and families.
    • CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program): Coverage for uninsured children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private insurance.
    • Apple Health for Kids: A Medicaid program specifically designed to provide healthcare coverage to children in Washington State.
    • Premium Tax Credits: Tax credits that may be able to help lower the cost of monthly premiums for private health insurance plans purchased through the Healthplanfinder.
    • Cost-Sharing Reductions: Helps with reducing out-of-pocket costs like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles for eligible individuals and families enrolled in certain private health insurance plans.
    • Special Enrollment Periods: Opportunities to enroll in or change health insurance coverage outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period due to changes in your life such as marriage, childbirth, adoption, or loss of other health coverage.

For more information: https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org/

In-Home Care, Employment and Community Supports, and Housing Services

Washington State offers a variety of services and supports to assist individuals with their personal, employment, and housing needs, helping them lead full and successful lives.

The Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) provides various services and supports to the Developmental Disabilities Community. This may include help to be successful at home, work, and in the community. 

  • Eligibility Requirements: To qualify for DDA eligibility, your disability must: 
    • Have occurred prior to age 18
    • Is continuing or will continue indefinitely 
    • Results in substantial limitations

In addition, DDA may use other criteria to determine eligibility, which can be found here

  • What is offered: Washington State DDA (Developmental Disabilities Administration) offers a variety of services to support individuals with developmental disabilities which may include:
    • Assessment and eligibility determination for services.
    • Case management and coordination of services.
    • Residential services, including group homes and supported living arrangements.
    • Vocational rehabilitation and supported employment programs.
    • Day programs and community engagement activities.
    • Respite care for caregivers.
    • Behavioral support services.
    • Assistive technology and adaptive equipment.
    • Family support and counseling.
    • Transition services for young adults moving from school to adult life.
    • Specialized medical and therapeutic services.
    • Transportation assistance.
    • Crisis intervention and emergency support services.
    • Advocacy and rights protection for individuals with disabilities.
    • Training and education for individuals, families, and caregivers.

For More Information: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/dda

The Home and Community Services (HCS) Division promotes, plans, develops and provides long-term care services for persons with disabilities and the elderly who may need state funds (Medicaid) to help pay for them.

  • Eligibility Requirements: Eligibility for Home and Community Services varies by county. For more information on the requirements in your community, please visit the HCS Eligibility page on the DSHS website.
  • What is offered: Services typically offered through Home and Community Services (HCS) in Washington State include:
    • Personal Care Assistance
    • Homemaker Services
    • Respite Care
    • Transportation Assistance
    • Medication Management
    • Nutritional Support
    • Counseling and Emotional Support
    • Home Modifications
    • Assistive Technology
    • Skilled Nursing Services
    • Therapy Services (Physical, Occupational, Speech)
    • Case Management

For more information: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/altsa/home-and-community-services-information-professionals

The Foundational Community Support (FCS) program in Washington State provides services to individuals with significant behavioral health needs and who may experience chronic homelessness. FCS offers a range of support services including housing assistance, employment support, skill-building activities, and access to mental health and substance abuse treatment. 

  • Eligibility Requirements: The Foundational Community Support (FCS) housing and employment programs each have their own sets of eligibility requirements. 

  • Supported Employment Requirements: 
    • Are Medicaid enrolled
    • At least 16 years of age
    • Has a medical need
    • Experience one of the following risk factors:
      • Receives Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) benefit;
      • Receives Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) benefit;
      • Difficulty finding or keeping a job due to age, physical or mental impairment, or traumatic brain injury;
      • Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and have received treatment in the past;
      • Serious mental illness (SMI) or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.
  • Supported Housing Requirements:
    • Enrolled in Medicaid
    • At least 18 years of age
    • Meet the requirements for ‘Complex Needs’:
      • Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and have received treatment in the past;
      • Serious mental illness (SMI) or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders;
      • Activities of daily living or complex physical health needs that limit you from functioning successfully or living independently. 

  • Experience one of the following risk factors:
    • Chronic homelessness
    • Frequent or lengthy stays in an institutional setting
    • Frequent stays in residential care settings
    • Frequent turnover of in-home caregivers
    • Predictive Risk Intelligence System (PRISM) score of 1.5 or higher.

  • What is offered: The Foundational Community Support (FCS) program currently offers: 
    • Supported housing services 
    • Supported employment services

For More Information: https://www.hca.wa.gov/about-hca/programs-and-initiatives/medicaid-transformation-project-mtp/foundational-community-supports-fcs-resources

The Disability Rights Washington: Entrepreneurial Support project focuses on serving individuals with disabilities who would like help planning for and starting a business.

  • Eligibility Requirements: 
    • Identify as having a disability.
    • Have a goal of starting your own business.
  • What is offered: 
    • Helping you begin learning the legal process while keeping services and supports in place.
    • Planning how to use your current services and supports to help you manage your business needs.
    • Working with you and your support team to encourage thinking outside the box when it comes to self-employment.

For More Information: https://disabilityrightswa.org/programs/entrepreneurial-support/

Tools for Saving Money

The programs allow people to be able to save money beyond the traditional resource limits for Medicaid and other public benefits programs.

A Washington State ABLE Savings Plan lets people with disabilities save for their everyday needs. Account holders can also plan for the future by saving larger amounts without the risk of going over resource limits. Individuals, as well as their friends and family can also contribute to ABLE accounts.

  • Eligibility Requirements: To open an ABLE account, you must: 
    • Prove that you have a disability that began before age 26*
    • Be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
    • Be a Washington State resident

Note: There are no age restrictions for opening an ABLE account.

*Starting January 1, 2026 the age at which a qualified disability happened will increase from 26 to 46

  • What is offered: 
    • The ability to save above typical SSI and Medicaid resource limits. – ABLE accounts let a person save up to $100,000 before there is an effect on SSI and $500,000 before impacting Medicaid.
    • Allows others to deposit or gift money directly into your account without it being looked at as unearned income. (Money contributed by an employer, however, can be considered income.)
    • Personalized account options. These include a ‘cash’ account option, that works like a checking account, as well as three different investment choices. 
    • ABLE accounts offer flexible rules on how the money in your account can be spent. 

For More Information: https://www.ablenrc.org/state-review/washington/

  • Eligibility Requirements: 
    • Lives in the State of Washington when enrolling.
    • Meet DDA eligibility requirements.
    • Be under the age of 65 at the time of signing up.
  • What is offered: 
    • The ability to save above typical SSI and Medicaid resource limits. 
    • Allows others to deposit or gift money directly into your account without it being counted as unearned income.
    • There is no limit to the amount of money that can be deposited or gifted to a DDETF account.
    • Offers ‘1st party’ account options – Allows only the individual’s own money to be added to the account.
    • Offers ‘3rd party’ account options – Allows money from anyone but the individual to be added to the account. 
    • Can be used as an estate planning tool.

For More Information: https://ddetf.wa.gov/

Other Benefits and Resources

Additional organizations and resource hubs that can connect people with resources and benefits available in Washington State.

Washington Connection

Washington Connection is a website that connects Washington State residents to a variety of services and benefits. This includes food, cash, childcare, long-term care, and healthcare programs. You can apply for multiple programs at one time.

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