Adult life for people with disabilities includes many options and services to explore and consider related to money, living options, health, and of course, FUN! There is a lot to learn in this section. Read on or click a topic below and jump to that information.

Estate Planning (Financial Planning)
Legal Aspects
Public Benefits
Housing/Living Options
Health/Mental Health
Regional Center Client Services
Other things to consider by age 18

Estate Planning (Financial Planning)

Protecting disabled adults’ assets and benefits is critical. This is often called estate planning or financial planning. When planning for the future, it may be valuable to get the advice of a lawyer and/or a public benefits consultant who is familiar with all of the options, and the pros and cons of each. Options to consider:

  • CalABLE accounts
    • Provide tax-free treatment on earnings and withdrawals to pay for disability-related expenses
    • Not considered when determining a person’s assets until the savings reach $100,000
  • Special Needs trusts can also be established for the individual

How an adult with a disability makes important life decisions is the personal choice of that adult and their loved ones.  Options exist to help both the adult with a disability and their family members/circle of support.

Public Benefits

Public benefits can play an important part in financial planning for the adult life for people with disabilities:

Housing/Living Options

Finding a place to live is one of the biggest challenges and decisions an adult with a disability and their loved ones will make.

  • If low-income, you can apply for Section 8 housing, through your local Public Housing Authority
  • Subsidized housing programs available
  • Check your local Independent Living Center for information on what is available locally, and help you complete applications as needed
  • Regional Center clients may have more options with securing housing (see below)
Health/Mental Health

Health needs are a big part of any adult’s life – and a person with a disability is no exception.

Medical insurance:

  • Covered California can help with low-cost insurance
  • Medi-Cal, if the person qualifies for SSI
  • Application for Covered California is the same as for Medi-Cal
  • Medicare may be an option for some adults with disabilities
  • Denti-Cal and other dental insurances are also available through Covered California

Mental health therapies and support groups are also available, and an important part of wellness for many.

Interested in having some fun, and meeting people? Social isolation is an issue for many adults with disabilities. There are a lot of recreational opportunities available, through Meetup, or check your local country Parks and Recreation department.

Regional Center Client Services

Regional Center* clients also have a range of adult services available to them.  These include a variety of supported living options:

Regional Center case managers/service coordinators can help their clients and loved ones explore their options and choose what feels right.

*Not sure what the Regional Center is, what they do, or who is qualified to receive services? Learn about them from California’s Department of Disability Services.

The Self-Determination Program (SDP) is available to all Regional Center clients who want to create their own life plan, yet still have support. This program allows clients more freedom to develop and pay for their individualized services which meet their needs. Disability Voices United is a great place to begin your SDP journey.

Other things to consider by age 18

Selective Service: If assigned male at birth, a person with a disability must sign up for the Selective Service.

  • This is how the military knows of all males who may be eligible to be drafted if a war occurs
  • A person’s name stays on the list until the age of 26
  • Many federal aid programs require proof of signing up for selective service if eligible to receive their benefits

Register to Vote: Another important thing to do is to register to vote.

  • At 18, your young adult’s voice counts. Let them be heard!
  • In California, pre-register to vote at ages 16-17; at 18, automatically registered to vote

Official government IDs are essential for any adult: