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hand holding paper cut out of familyThe Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) provides general information on benefits and resources available to individuals with disabilities living in the Commonwealth.  MOD does not administer any benefit programs, but this post addresses common questions we receive regarding such programs.

I am going to be out of work for several months because of an injury or illness (example: broken leg). Is there a temporary or short term disability benefit available to me? The state of Massachusetts does not operate a temporary/short term disability insurance program.  Some employers offer short term disability insurance as a benefit to their employees.  You should check with your human resources department to find out whether your employer offers this benefit and if you have previously enrolled in it.

Disability benefits are available through the federal Social Security Administration for individuals who have a disability that prevents them from working and is expected to last for at least one year.

See our post on planning ahead for short-term disability.

I live in another state but work in Massachusetts, how do I apply for temporary disability? The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not operate a temporary/short term disability insurance program into which workers pay.  Rhode Island is one of a few states in the nation that has a short term/temporary disability program (TDI/TCI).  In order to be eligible for this program, one must have earned wages in Rhode Island.

Does the state of Massachusetts offer any cash assistance for people who cannot work temporarily or who have pending Social Security claims? The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) offers emergency assistance to certain individuals who have very low income and assets.  While DTA does not provide disability benefits, people who are unable to work for a medical reason for at least 60 days are among those who may be eligible if income and assets guidelines are met. DTA also administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program.

Where can I get disability benefits if I am pregnant? Short-term disability insurance carriers often cover instances in which employees cannot work because of pregnancy.  These are private insurance policies.  Some employers offer short term disability insurance as a benefit to employees and some people purchase this disability insurance coverage privately.  While there are laws that protect employees who are pregnant, there is no government-based short term disability benefit for people who cannot work because of pregnancy.

The Department of Transitional Assistance administers Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), a state and federally funded program that provides cash assistance to families with children and pregnant women in the last 120 days of pregnancy who have little or no assets or income.

I applied for disability benefits and have not heard anything, who should I contact?The answer to this question depends on the specific benefit for which you applied.  There are various sources from which an individual could potentially receive a “disability” benefit. The Social Security Administration administers Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  The Veterans Administration also pays benefits to people with disabilities, as do private insurance carriers, and government pension systems.

MOD does not have access to information on benefits that other agencies administer but can help you identify resources.

I was told that I need to get “a letter from the state” to verify my disability income.  Where do I get that?  Massachusetts is one of the states that offers a supplementary payment to individuals who receive SSI benefits from the Social Security Administration.  The state agency that administers the supplement is the Massachusetts State Supplement Program (SSP). Contact SSP at 877-863-1128.

I received notification that I have to attend a medical appointment for my disability claim but I cannot go. What do I do?  The Social Security Administration contracts with a state agency, Disability Determination Services (DDS) at Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, to determine initial and continued eligibility for SSI and SSDI programs.  As part of their evaluation they may require you to attend a medical appointment.  You may contact them at 800-882-2040.

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