Key Services – Finance

Income and Financial Programs

Financial assistance and entitlement programs are vitally important to the well-being of those in need. Various programs are administered by federal, state or even county governments. Many have similar names, but different purposes, benefits and eligibility criteria. Key federal programs include: Social Security; Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) ; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Temporary Assistance to Needy Families; Medicare and Medicaid; Food Stamps; and Veterans’ Benefits. As valuable and critical as these programs are, it may be difficult to contact and obtain them. Phone lines may be constantly busy when you call. The person you speak to may not be as responsive or as sensitive to your situation as you feel you deserve. It is your right to be firm and persistent in pursuing answers to your questions.

Social Security Administration

All of us are familiar with the Social Security Administration (SSA) because we make contributions to it from our earnings. In every paycheck, there is a deduction called “FICA” (Federal Insurance Contribution Act) which refers to the amount a worker contributes to the Social Security system. Congress passed the Social Security Act in 1935 to provide financial protection to Americans.

Note: the following contains links to government websites.

SOCIAL SECURITY – RETIREMENT

Eligibility determination:

SSA provides you with a benefit eligibility screening tool at http://best.ssa.gov/.

Preparing for and Scheduling your Interview with SSA Representative:

  • If you plan to fill out an application for retirement benefits with your Social Security office, there is important information you should prepare.
  • Make an appointment for an interview with your local Social Security Representative. If you don’t know where your closest local office is, click onhttps://ssa.gov and enter your zip code. You can also call 1-800-772-1213 to request assistance.

Using a representative payee:

Those who are not able to handle their own financial affairs can have a relative, friend or another interested party appointed. Link to http://www.ssa.gov/thirdparties.htmor contact SSA for more information at 1-800-772-1213.

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SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI)

SSI is a federal cash assistance program for the aged, blind and disabled people who have limited income and resources. SSI is not welfare.

Eligibility determination:

Preparing for and Scheduling your Disability Interview:

  • If you plan to fill out an application for SSI benefits with your Social Security office, there is important information you should prepare from the Disability Starter Kit. Bring this information with you to the Interview.
  • Make an appointment for a Disability Interview with your local Social Security Representative. If you don’t know where your closest local office is, click onhttps://ssa.gov and enter your zip code. You can also call 1-800-772-1213 to request assistance.

UNDERSTANDING THE SSI PROGRAM:

Using a Representative Payee:

  • For those who are not able to handle their own financial affairs can have a relative, friend or another interested party appointed. For information on representaive payees, link to http://www.ssa.gov/thirdparties.htm or call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 for more information.

Continuing Your Eligibility

SS program and SSI program:

The Social Security Administration runs the Social Security program and the SSI program, but the programs are not the same and there are different rules for each. People can get benefits under both programs at the same time, but remember that Social Security benefits are counted as income which is deducted from SSI benefits. The checks do not come in the mail on the same day. SSI comes on the first day of the month; Social Security checks on the 3rd day of the month. SSI funds come from the general treasury of the United States and are derived from general tax revenues.

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SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE (SSDI)

SSDI is a federal cash benefit program for people with disabilities who have lost their income or have low incomes. SSDI is not welfare. People under age 65, who are blind or disabled may be eligible for SSDI. SSDI provides monthly cash benefits to disabled people who are “insured” by workers’ contributions to the Social Security trust fund.

Eligibility determination:

SSA provides you with a benefit eligibility screening tool at http://best.ssa.gov/.

Preparing for and Scheduling your Disability Interview:

  • If you plan to fill out an application for SSDI benefits with your Social Security office, there is important information you should prepare from the Disability Starter Kit. Bring this information with you to the Interview.
  • Make an appointment for a Disability Interview with your local Social Security Representative. If you don’t know where your closest local office is, click onhttps://ssa.gov and enter your zip code. You can also call 1-800-772-1213 to request assistance.
  • Also if you are able, contact your doctor and other treatment sources to let them know that SSA will be asking for information from them such as:
  • When your medical condition began.
  • How your condition limits your activities.
  • What your medical tests have shown.
  • What treatment or tests have been provided, and what your doctor has prescribed for you.
  • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of doctors, hospitals, clinics and institutions that have treated you and the dates of treatment.
  • Names of all prescription drugs you are taking and the prescribed dosage.

How much will the SSDI Payments be?

  • The amount is based on the worker’s lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security (http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dapproval2.htm). The payment amount may change each year due to cost-of-living increases. It may reduce due to: workers’ compensation payments or public disability benefits (state, civil service), etc.

When SSDI Benefits begin?

  • View: (http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dapproval.htm).
  • It is important to apply soon after the disability starts because back payments are limited to the 12 months preceding the month you apply.
  • If your disability benefits end but you later refile with the same or related condition within 5 years, SSA does not require a new waiting period.
  • SSA does not require a waiting period for disabled adult children filing for disability benefits based on their parent’s earning record.

Using a Representative Payee:

  • For those who are not able to handle their own financial affairs can have a relative, friend or another interested party appointed. Link onhttp://www.ssa.gov/thirdparties.htm or contact SSA at 1-800-772-1213 for more information.

Continuing Your Eligibility:

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GENERAL ASSISTANCE (GA) – STATE OF HAWAII

General Assistance provides financial assistance to those who are:

  • between the ages of 18-65-years old; and
  • physically or mentally disabled for at least 60 days (unable to work more than 30 hours/week);
  • financially needy as defined by the eligibility rules; and
  • not able to meet the requirements of the federal Supplementary Security Income (SSI) program

 

How much financial assistance is offered to you:

  • Ranges from $217 to $418 each month.

Application Process:

  • Contact a DHS office and ask for application forms for financial assistance. Upon completion and return of your application, you will receive an interview date and time.
  • Appear at the Interview and bring verification of your identity (picture I.D), age (birth certificate of any and all household members), proof of your disabililty, your income (pay stubs, child support checks, checking and savings books, etc.), assets (stocks, bonds, car registration, etc. ) and your place of residence (leases/rental agreement).
  • Complete disability forms, which includes (DHS 1127), (DHS 1270) and/or (DHS 1271).
  • You are scheduled for a disability determination by DHS doctors. You should bring any copies of current medical records you can get from your treating doctors regarding your claimed disability; have your doctor submit any and all copies of medical records as well as request your doctor to write a letter on your behalf outlining you condition and relevant test results.
  • If you are homeless, being evicted, surviving on limited income/assets, or living in a shelter, write a letter informing the Department of Human Services (DHS) of this situation and submit it with your application. This can expedite the process.
  • Submit it to the DHS..
  • Then the Med-Quest Division will evaluate your application and determine your eligibility for GA or AABD.

Your Responsibilities:

  • Should you receive retroactive SSI benefits after being accepted into the GA program, then DHS is entitled to repayment for benefits that you received.
  • After being accepted into the GA program, some people will have to work or look for work.
  • You should apply for all other benefits for which you are eligible.
  • You are to report changes in your financial needs (changes in income, changes in household composition, living expenses, changes in address, changes in phone number, etc.).
  • Recipients with “Outside Income” report monthly on a Monthly Eligibility Report Form.
  • Recipients without “Outside Income” report all changes within 10 calendar days of becoming aware of the change.
  • Failure to Cooperate may result in sanctions by DHS.

Denied, Reduced or Terminated Benefits from the GA program:

  • If you are denied benefits, consider applying for other aid or reapplying after reading your notice about why DHS denied you.
  • Request an Administrative Hearing to appeal your case (within 90 calendar days of your denial notice) if you disagree with the DHS decision . You can contact an advocacy agency to assist you.
    • For a listing of advoacy agencies on this website:
    • Click on “Back to Top”
    • Click on this webpage’s jump menu and look for “Neurotrauma Local Resources”
    • Click on “Neurotrauma Local Resources”
    • Select and click on the island you are on
    • Click on “Legal Assistance and Advocacy”
  • If you lose the administrative hearing, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Circuit Court. You can contact an advocacy agency to assist you.

Note: Governor Signs The General Assistance Bill – The Governor signed the General Assistance; Good Cause for Failure to Pursue Treatment bill on June 3, 2003. General Assistance recipients who have good cause for not pursuing medical treatment for their disability now have a defense against benefit disqualification. The new law is effective as of May 30, 2003. (Reported by the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii)

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AID TO AGED, BLIND, AND DISABLED (AABD) – STATE OF HAWAII

AABD provides financial assistance to those who:

  • are 65 years of age or older; or
  • are blind; or
  • are physically or mentally disabled for at least 12 months and unable to work; or
  • have a condition that will lead to death and unable to work or on Social Security or SSI but getting too little money; or
  • are living with and caring for an individual receiving AABD; and is financially needy, as defined by the eligibility rules.

How much financial assistance is offered to you:

  • $418 each month.

Application Process:

  • Contact a DHS office and ask for application forms for financial assistance. Upon completion and return of your application, you will receive an interview date and time.
  • Appear at the Interview and bring verification of your identity (picture I.D), age (birth certificate of any and all household members), proof of your disabililty, your income (pay stubs, child support checks, checking and savings books, etc.), assets (stocks, bonds, car registration, etc. ) and your place of residence (leases/rental agreement, etc.).
  • Complete disability forms, which includes (DHS 1127), (DHS 1270) and/or (DHS 1271).
    • You are scheduled for a disability determination by DHS doctors. You should bring any copies of current medical records you can get from your treating doctors regarding your claimed disability; have your doctor submit any and all copies of medical records as well as request your doctor to write a letter on your behalf outlining your medical condition and any relevant test results compared to Social Security Disability standards.
    • If you are homeless, being evicted, surviving on limited income/assets, or living in a shelter, write a letter informing the Department of Human Services (DHS) of this situation and submit it with your application. This can expedite the process.
  • Submit it to the DHS.
  • Then the Med-Quest Division will evaluate your application and determine your eligibility for GA or AABD.

Other benefits you, as a AABD recipient, can inquire about:

  • Eligibility to receive Medicaid benefits
  • Eligibility for Food Stamps
  • Eligibility for Free No-Fault Car Insurance through the Welfare Office
  • Eligibility for Low Income Home Energy Assistance
  • Eligibility for Personal Care Services via home and community long-term care services
  • Eligibility for funeral payment program
  • Eligibility for Nursing Home Without Walls (outpatient nursing program) offering home and community based long-term care services
  • Eligibility for home and community-based services for DD/MR, If you qualify as being developmental disabled/mentally retarded
  • Eligibility for home and community-based services for the Elderly Foster Family Community Care Program, if you qualify as being elderly with chronic illnesses or disabilities

Your Responsibilities:

  • You must apply for SSI.
  • You are required to obtain medical treatment for any correctable condition.
  • You must cooperate with DHS (verification, seeking help, filling in forms and keeping appointments) or face being cut off or denied benefits.

Denied, Reduced or Terminated Benefits from the GA program:

  • If you are denied benefits, consider applying for other aid or reapplying after reading your notice about why DHS denied you.
  • Request an Administrative Hearing to appeal your case (within 90 calendar days of your denial notice) if you disagree with the DHS decision. You can contact an advocacy agency to assist you.
    • For a listing of advoacy agencies on this website:
    • click on “Back to Top”
    • click on this webpage’s jump menu and look for “Neurotrauma Local Resources”
    • click on “Neurotrauma Local Resources”
    • select and click on the island you are on
    • click on “Legal Assistance and Advocacy”
  • If you lose the administrative hearing, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Circuit Court. You can contact an advoacy agency to assist you.

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TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES:

This federal funding program is administered locally through the Department of Human Services’ Benefit, Employment Support Services Division as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/Pursuit of New Opportunities Program (TANF/PONO): (http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/bessd/tanf/) and its users can also receive supports to further their education through the First to Work Education program (http://humanservices.hawaii.gov). Households can apply by calling to have application forms (DHS 1240, etc.) mailed to them or arrange to pick it up at the closest DHS office. After filling in the application forms, an interview is scheduled with you and certain information verified before you are accepted into the program.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Must be resident of Hawaii, however there are no established time standard for residency.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • In order for a family to be eligible, an application with respect to a dependent, minor child must include the following individuals, if living in the same household and otherwise eligible:
    • A natural, adoptive or hanai parent, except as noted below: and
    • A blood-related or adoptive brother or sister, except as noted below:
    • In situations where the state has obtained legal custody of a child and has placed that child under the care and supervision of a person other than the parent.
    • In situations where an adopted child is living with both the adoptive parent and a natural or hanai parent the following shall apply:
    • The natural or hanai parent relationship shall not be recognized for the purpose of determining the TANF household composition; and
    • The sibling relationship shall not be recognized if the natural or hanai parent has other children or stepchildren living in the household who have not been adopted.
  • Pregnant women with no other children may be eligible for TANF program from the 1st month in which she begins her 9th month of pregnancy.
  • Ask DHS office for more details.

Initial Assessment:

  • Sign DHS 1242: Memorandum of Understanding that explains program requirements and expectation to work.
  • Show proof you are a U.S. citizen.
  • Need to inform the DHS employee of the employment status of each household member 16 years of age and older. So bring in information about each family member’s income (earned, unearned or in-kind).
  • Specify information for domestic violence exemption.
  • A decision on your application is made within 45 days from the date of your application submission.

You are referred to First-to-Work Program:

  • Within 3 months of being accepted into the TANF program, you are called in for Intake and Orientation to the First-to-Work Program.
  • As a result of an in-depth assessment of you, an Employment Plan and a Support Service Plan are designed. However, for those with disabilities, they will likely be referred for rehabilitation services; those with substance abuse are referred for substance abuse treatment; those who are victims of domestic violence are referred to a domestic violence agency. These services include case management, employability plans, supportive services and employment and training activities.

Once in the TANF program, continuing financial assistance at the time of redetermination is dependent on TANF recipient:

  • Completing redetermination form.
  • Provide information supported by documents to establish eligibility
  • Be determined to be in need (according to DHS’s appropriate standard of assistance).
  • Meet the categorical and eligibility requirements of the TANF program.
  • Eligibility redeterminations are required monthly. A face-to-face review of all eligibility requirements is done every 12 months. Receipt of TANF assistance is limited to 60 months for a lifetime of all applicant and recipient households, unless the household meets the definition of an exempt household (e.g. needed in the home to care for another household member who is ill, incapacitated or disabled, as determined by a licensed physician or psychologist).

At the conclusion of the 60-month time limit, all non-exempt assistance units will be assessed for continued eligibility in the following programs:

  • Medical assistance;
  • Food stamps
  • Child care; and
  • Employment Subsidy Program.

Your Responsibilities:

  • You are prohibited from striking
  • You are prohibited from committing fraud
  • You must apply for a Social Security Number
  • You are to participate in work programs, though there are exceptions such as teens and students, parents with infants, domestic violence exceptions, illness, old age, disability, etc.
  • You are to cooperate with child support collection activities
  • You are to complete and return monthly reporting forms (MERFs) in timely manner
  • You are to participate in periodic Eligibility Redetermination Interviews
  • There are sanctions for not cooperating without good cause.
  • Federal statue does not allow SSI recipients from simultaneously receving TANF.

Denied, Reduced, Suspended or Terminated Benefits from the TANF/PONO Program:

  • If your benefits are denied, reduced, suspended or terminated, consider requesting a Fair Hearing to appeal your case if you disagree with the DHS decision. You can contact an advocacy agency to assist you.
    • For a listing of advoacy agencies on this website:
    • Click on “Back to Top”
    • Click on this webpage’s jump menu and look for “Neurotrauma Local Resources”
    • Click on “Neurotrauma Local Resources”
    • Select and click on the island you are on
    • Click on “Legal Assistance and Advocacy”

Note: Hawaii imposed program participation requirements for individuals who are exempt from work requirements due to a disability. Individuals who claim an exemption due to a physical or mental impairment must be engaged in treatment services or vocational rehabilitation activities or both, which may reasonably be expected to lead to employment and self-sufficiency. The entire household is sanctioned if the disabled individual refuses or fails to comply. (Reported by Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, November 1, 2001)

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TEMPORARY AID TO OTHER NEEDY FAMILIES (TAONF)

TAONF is state funded cash assistance for financially needy two-parent families and non-citizens with dependent children. All adult members are required to participate in “work component” within 24 months of benefits, unless the adult is exempt. Disability would be one of the considerations for exemption. Contact your DHS office for further information.

Work component:

  • Paid employment for at least one hour,
  • Unpaid volunteer work in a private, public or non-proft business or organization of at least four hours,
  • Satisfactory participation in an organized job training program,
  • Actively participating with the First-to-Work program,
  • Receiving unemployment insurance,
  • Attending a school of secondary education at least half-time,
  • OR attending post-secondary school at least half time.

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EMPLOYMENT SUBSIDY PROGRAM

The Employment Subsidy Program provides a monthly stipend to households that have exhausted the 60-month time limit for TANF. It is a non-assistance program for familes where at least one able-bodied or non-exempt adult is gainfully employed at least 20 hours per week or 86 hours per month and falls under 185% of the TANF standard of need.

It is provided during the “one-time only” period of 24 consecutive months beginning from the 61st month after TANF. The household receives $200 per month for each adult household member who is gainfully employed at least 20 hours per week or 86 hours per month. The family also remains eligible for free car insurance. The 24 month period begins as soon as the 5 years is up and keeps running. Contact your DHS Office for more details.

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LISTING OF DHS OFFICES

Oahu DHS Offices Locations Phone #
Central Honolulu Applications 333 North King St. 586-8047
East Honolulu Applications 333 North King St. 586-8047
Ewa Unit 601 Kamokila Bl. # 106 692-7300
Kailua Unit 45-513 Luluku Rd. 235-8741
Kalihi Unit 420 Waiakamilo Rd. #101 832-5558
Kaneohe Unit 45-513 Luluku Rd. 235-6602
Kapalama Unit 420 Waiakamilo Rd. #101 832-5538
Kinau Unit 420 Waiakamilo Rd.#101 832-4660
Kuakini Unit 420 Waiakamilo Rd. #117C 832-3800
Leeward Applications & Assist Unit 86-088 Farrington Hwy. #106 697-7147
Makiki Unit 677 Queen, #400B 587-5276
Nanakuli Unit 601 Kamokila Blvd. #117 692-7775
Nuuanu Unit 888-3 North King St. 832-5627
Palama Unit 420 Waiakamilo Rd. #101 832-5558
Pawaa Unit 677 Queen, #400B 587-5290
Punawai Unit 677 Queen, #400B 587-5283
Wahiawa Unit 929 Center 622-6476
Waianae Unit 86-088 Farrington Hwy. #101 697-7177
Waikele Unit 94-275 Mokuola #303 675-0040
Waipahu Applications Unit 601 Kamokila Blvd. #468 692-7171
Waipahu Unit 601 Kamokila Blvd. #106 692-7310
West Honolulu Appications. Unit 420 Waiakamilo Rd. #101 832-5500
West Oahu Unit 94-275 Mokuola, #303A 675-0050
Windward Applications Unit 45-260 Waikalua Rd. 233-3621
Windward Unit 46-005 Kawa, #307 233-3655
Oahu First-To-Work Units Locations Phones
Downtown First-To-Work Unit 1 677 Ala Moana, #720 587-3850
Downtown First-To-Work Unit 2 677 Queen, #400A 587-5250
Kailua First-To-Work Unit 354 Uluniu, #401 266-9620
Wahiawa First-To-Work Unit 1008 California Ave., Bldg 8 622-6314
Waianae First-To-Work Unit 601 Kamokila Blvd. #138 692-7760
Waipahu First-To-Work Unit 94-275 Mokuola, #105 675-0081
Kauai DHS Offices Locations Phones
Kauai DHS Office Benefit Employment &
Support Services Division/
Information
643-1643
Kauai First-To-Work Units First-To-Work/Child
Care Unit 4473 Pahee,
Suite G
241-3660
Maui DHS Offices Locations Phones
Maui DHS Office Benefit Employment &
Support Services Division/
Information
643-1643
Maui, Molokai, Lanai
First-To-Work Units
Locations Phones
First-To-Work/Child Care Unit 270 Waiehu Beach Rd.#107 243-5866
Island of Hawaii DHS Office Locations Phones

Benefit Employment & Support
Services Division/Information 

Hilo

643-1643

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Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

This is a federally funded program to help eligible low income households meet their home heating or cooling needs. People with disabilities may be especially at risk for life threatening illness or death if their home is too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. Main website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/liheap/ and their brochure which has more details about the program is found at:http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/programs/liheap. This program is operated out of the Department of Human Services. Call 586-5740 (Oahu), ENTERPRISE-5317 (Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Island of Hawaii).

Financial Assistance – Smaller Programs by Islands

Maui

  • Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. (MEO)…………….249-2970
    Fax: 249-2971
    Inquire about special funds providing one time financial assistance

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