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Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
Caring for Our People with Disabilities & Chronic Illness

"Making life better!"

ten dollar billFinancial & Employment Resources for Families of Persons with Disabilities

First things first --- do you (your child) have a disability or not?
Funny as it sounds, whether you have a disability isn't a yes or no answer. The Americans with Disabilities Act says that a disability "must substantially limit a major life activity." Most people agree that if you have trouble walking, talking, seeing, or hearing, that is a disability. If you have trouble with taking care of yourself - dressing, eating, keeping track of your own money and paying for things yourself, that can qualify as a disability. If you have difficulty reading and writing, which interferes with your ability to get a job, that can be a disability.

For Social Security to get disability income payments you must not be able to do the work you did before and not be able to do other work. AND it is expected that you will continue to be unable to work for at least a year or that you will die.(Despite the fact that makes you think, "Gee, those Social Security folks must be a real barrel of laughs!" we have actually found them to be pretty nice and easy to work with.)

Depending on what type of disability you have, you may be able to receive services or assistance from some places and not others. Don't give up.


Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This is a cash benefit to persons with disabilities. It is around $550 per month, but is different across states. There is a cost of living increase each year. The individual must qualify based on both disability and income. To be eligible, a child must have a "marked and severe" functional limitation from a physical or mental condition. While children may qualify due to disability, it is possible they may not get benefits, or get lower benefits, if the parents have a high income or substantial property.

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) This is a cash benefit to disabled workers and sometimes their dependent children. The amount depends on how long the worker paid into the social security system.

Apply for SSI or SSDI - At your local Social Security Administration office. You can call the Social Security office Monday through Friday, toll-free from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Central Time) at 1-800-772-1213. Individuals who are hearing impaired and need a TTY machine should call 1-800-325-0778.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) provides cash benefits to families with dependent children. Eligibility is based on income, not disability. TANF rules differ by state. Some states consider raising a child with a disability a "hardship" that will waive some requirements. Apply for TANF at your local welfare office.


Vocational rehabilitation assists people with disabilities in getting and keeping a job. They can help you decide on your career goals, pay for clothes for an interview, buy gas for your car so you can get to work the first few weeks and pay for on the job training.

  • Click here for the Spirit Lake Vocational Rehabilitation Project website. Here you will find newsletters, a copy of the project brochure and links to pages providing information on vocational rehabilitation. You can also call them at (701) 766-4446.
  • Click here for the Turtle Mountain Vocational Rehabilitation Project website, serving enrolled members of federally-recognized tribes living on or near the Turtle Mountain Reservation.
  • Standing Rock Vocational Rehabilitation can be reached at (701) 854-3861 in Fort Yates or (605) 823-4222 in McLaughlin, SD.
  • Three Affiliated Tribes Vocational Rehabilitation can be reached at (701) 627-2688. They are located in New Town.

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Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. -- P.O.Box 663, 314 Circle Dr., Fort Totten, ND 58335 Tel: (701) 351-2175 Fax: (800) 905 -2571
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