Are there government benefits for someone who's had a stroke and gets only a small company pension?

Nellie asked...

My name is Nellie. My sister's name is Joan.We are in a bind, that my sister has worked for a company for 40 years, and they are trying to tell us that she will receive a little bit of money, which I am still having problems understanding. My sister had a stroke, and became paralyzed, now I am here trying to help her with her home, tryng to keep her rent up because she has 2 grandsons who are residing with her. I need help. I can not get no one to help me with her rent, no monies are being offered for emergency cases. Can you please offer me some resourceful input. I am drained from the run-a-round trips that they offer me, yet have I not received a penny.


Expert Answer

There are several government programs, in addition to her company pension, that might provide help for your sister. She can apply for Social Security retirement or disability benefits based on her years of work, or on the work record of her spouse if she was married. She can apply for benefits online, with your help, at the Social Security Administration's web site.

For help with medical costs, she should apply for Medicare coverage if she hasn't already done so. Medicare Part B covers some home care, which could provide you with important help with your sister. If she's not 65 years old yet, she'll become eligible for Medicare after two years of qualifying for Social Security Administration disability benefits, or when she turns 65, whichever comes first.

If your sister has few savings or other assets -- not counting her house as long as she still lives there -- she may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in addition to Social Security benefits. Low income and assets might also make her eligible for Medicaid, which pays most of the costs of medical care that Medicare does not pay. Contact your county's local social services office to apply for both SSI and Medicaid.