Assistance Available When Applying for Benefits sarah March 20, 2024

Assistance Available When Applying for Benefits

MY LIFE MAGAZINE - Spring 2024

By Lisa Danford

Turning 18 is a significant milestone. And for people with disabilities, it also means it’s time to apply for Social Security benefits. 

Jenny Castrucci needed help filling out Social Security forms for her son, Ryan. “It got to the point where you don’t even understand what you’re reading. It’s hard to decipher what it all means,” she said. 

Through her son’s service & support administrator (SSA), they connected to the HCDDS Benefits Team. Benefits Analyst Teresa Schlemmer worked with Jenny and Ryan to provide direction and help the family understand the Social Security application process. 

“I meet with the person we serve and their legal guardians, if they have one, and we apply for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at the same time,” Schlemmer said. “We also talk about how work may impact their benefits.” 

Throughout the process, Schlemmer provided guidance and reassurance to the Castruccis. “Teresa really made a big difference for us,” Jenny said. 

In addition to initial applications, Schlemmer can also help when people have problems with Social Security, like if their checks stop coming. 

Schlemmer said she enjoys assisting others in applying for much-needed benefits. “This role makes it easier and more accommodating for our families. It has made a world of difference for people we support,” Schlemmer added. 

Benefits Representatives at HCDDS help people we support obtain and maintain public benefits. To get connected with the benefits team or to learn more, reach out to your SSA or call (513) 794-3300. 

A dad, mom, and their son with disabilities smile for a photo. They're wearing running bib numbers for PigAbilities.

What's the Difference?

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Disability, provides monthly payments to people who have a disability that stops or limits their ability to work. 
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monthly payments to people with disabilities and older adults who have little or no income or resources.