Individuals who have been diagnosed with a behavioral health condition are entitled to certain protections, benefits and entitlements under the law. The following describes some benefits and links to websites which provide additional information about those rights.
Several benefits are administered through the Social Security Administration. In Westchester County, you can phone your local Social Security office at 914-995-3333 or find the closest office by using the online locator.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that ensures equal opportunity in employment, public accommodations, transportation, government services and telecommunications for people with disabilities, including “physical or behavioral impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Details about ADA protections are available online.
Food Stamps and Other Food Programs
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as the Food Stamp Program, helps low-income households buy food. For more information, contact your local Social Security Office.
Medicaid provides medical assistance for certain individuals and families with low incomes and low resources. You may be eligible to receive Medicaid if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or if you meet certain income, resource, age, disability or other criteria. Details about NYS Medicaid, including application information are found online. In Westchester, you can also contact the local Department of Social Services office at 914-995-3333.
Medicare is our country's health insurance program for people age 65 and older. People younger than 65 who have certain disabilities may also qualify. The program helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. Medicare supplement policy (called Medigap) purchased from a private insurance company can cover some of the costs that Medicare does not. Learn more at the Medicare website and in this useful pamphlet. You can also call their toll-free number at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
Medication Grant Program
The Medication Grant Program can help pay for your behavioral health medications while you are waiting for Medicaid eligibility determination. This program can help if you are being discharged from a hospital or released from the Westchester County jail or a state prison and are in need of behavioral health medication. Representatives at the hospital or jail can help you apply, or you can contact Joanna Young, Westchester DCMH at 914-995-4625.
Section 8 Rental Housing Voucher
The Section 8 Rental Housing Voucher is a government program for assisting low-income families, the elderly and the disabled to rent housing in the private market, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments, providing the housing falls at or below fair market rents. Specific information about the benefit is available from CVR New York, the local administrator of the Westchester Choice Voucher Program or through the Westchester County Department of Planning, 914-995-2415.
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits may be available if you cannot work because of a medical condition. “Social Security Disability Benefits” is a useful pamphlet that summarizes the benefits, how to apply, and the Ticket to Work program. For more information, contact your local Social Security Office.
Supplementary Security Income
Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits may be available to adults and children who have disabilities, along with limited income and resources, and also for individuals who are 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial requirements. A useful pamphlet describes the benefits and how to apply.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency. Learn more about the federal TANF program, about employment opportunities in Westchester and about Family Assistance in Westchester.
Assistance with Moving Expenses
Individuals who receive either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and who face emergency situations that endanger their housing may be eligible for emergency financial assistance to help prevent homelessness; pay moving expenses, security deposits and realty fees; and provide a furniture allowance. You can apply for these benefits at your local Westchester County District Office.