Federal economic support and benefit laws based on disability vary from monetary social security disability income and Medicare healthcare benefits (both of which require individuals to initially qualify by paying into the system for many years through employment wage deductions), to supplemental security income and Medicaid healthcare benefits that are primarily applied for on the basis of having a disability and having extremely low income and few or no assets.
Over the decades, the income programs in particular have not necessarily maintained their goal of enabling recipients to pay for basic life necessities, especially in light of steep housing prices in certain parts of the country. Similarly, healthcare programs have been criticized for cutbacks and under-insurance of beneficiaries. Nonetheless, Medicaid remains the largest single source of public long-terms services and supports for people with disabilities. The complexity of qualifying for and maintaining benefits remains problematic for many people with disabilities. Despite attempts to improve the situation through specific initiatives, it remains very challenging for people with various disabilities to maintain needed income and healthcare benefits while trying to improve educational and employment prospects over the long term.