Mental Health Series: Benefits for Those Facing Dementia

Dementia impacts many people – some see it affect their loved ones, while others may experience it personally. In our continuing series about mental health, Benefits.gov wants you to know that we understand the challenges one may face when dealing with dementia, and we offer information on benefits and other resources that may help affected individuals or their caregivers.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) refers to dementia as the loss of thinking, remembering and reasoning. These behavioral changes interfere with a person’s daily life and can range from mild to severe and life-threatening. Often misunderstood as a disease itself, dementia is actually an umbrella term that has many types—one of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which affects over 5 million Americans in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can be difficult to live with dementia and it can be even more difficult to watch your loved ones suffer through it.

Benefits.gov houses several government benefit programs that can help alleviate some of the financial challenges faced by individuals with dementia. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) offers useful benefits, including the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI). This program provides disability payments to workers with dementia that are younger than 65, unable to work in any occupation, and who have been diagnosed with a form of dementia that will last at least a year.  Those with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease (i.e. individuals under age 65 with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis) are considered eligible for SSDI as long as they meet the same eligibility criteria. SSA also offers the Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI), which provides monthly income for people who are 65 or older, disabled and are considered low-income.

Additionally, if you are 65 years or older, you can qualify for Federal health insurance through the Medicare program. This program covers some medical fees, inpatient hospital care, outpatient prescription drugs, and other forms of health care. The jointly funded Federal and state Medicaid program pays medical expenses for low-income individuals who meet their specific state criteria, which you can find on Medicaid’s website

The Alzheimer’s Association, a leading voluntary health organization, provides helpful advice and information for those affected by dementia and their caregivers. Check out their website for more information on Alzheimer’s care, research, tips on daily living, caregiver resources and more.

Benefits.gov understands the enormous challenges faced by those with dementia and their loved ones. There are many resources available to help. For more information on health care benefits, living assistance, and more, take our Benefit Finder questionnaire to see which of the 1,200 benefits from over 20 different categories you may be eligible to receive.

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