We help Threshold alumni navigate and apply for benefits they may be eligible for, such as supplemental security income, discounts on public transportation, health insurance, housing, and nutritional assistance.
We aim to provide Threshold alumni and their families with helpful information regarding services and benefits. We are here to help you navigate the following benefits you may be eligible for.
Applying for Social Security benefits can be an intimidating task, and we are here to help you with the process. Apply online for Social Security.
Qualifications for SSI or SSDIAs an individual with a disability, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The most important reason individuals apply is for the monthly cash benefit. You should apply for benefits if your disability makes it challenging for you to cover basic expenses. Use the Social Security screening tool to find out what benefits you may be eligible for through Social Security.
SSI versus SSDI
SSI is need-based and helps low-income individuals who are not able to work or who are unable to work enough to cover their monthly expenses. SSI is based on your monthly income and overall assets.
SSDI is a benefit for people who have already worked, paid social security tax, and earned work credits. This means you must have worked for a certain period of time to qualify. Work Credits vary based on age. Find out how many work credits you need. SSDI eligibility is based on monthly income, but not overall assets.
Applying for SSI or SSDI
The application for SSDI and SSI is the same, and the Social Security Administration will determine which program you qualify for, if any. Apply for SSI or SSDI.
All questions should be directed to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office handling your case. A decision may take 90–120 days. Many claims are denied, but don't worry, the next section will walk you through the appeal process.
Many claims end in denial, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get benefits. You are more likely to receive benefits by appealing than reapplying.
Contacting the Social Security Administration to understand your denial is helpful, and we can also connect you with local resources that help in the appeals process. During an appeal, many families hire an attorney who specializes in Social Security.
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Individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, according to the DSM V, may qualify for services regardless of their IQ score as long as they have functional limitations in 3 of the following domains:
Alumni would need to be reevaluated with the DSM V classifications. Individuals that do not have an ASD diagnosis but do have a specific diagnosis of an intellectual disability and/or a full scale IQ of under 70, and in some cases, under 75, may qualify for services.
Mass Health provides health care coverage for qualifying individuals living in Massachusetts. You can apply for Mass Health through the Massachusetts Health Connector.
Qualifications for Mass Health
Mass Health Coverage
In many cases, you can start receiving coverage 10 days prior to the date Mass Health receives your application. Once you receive coverage, you will need to find a doctor who takes the specific plan you have been assigned. You can find a doctor on the health connector website or from a referral through our office.
Remember to let Mass Health know of any changes as soon as possible, including changes in income, employment, disability status, health insurance, and address. If you do not report your changes, you may lose your benefits.
Out-of-State Emergency Treatment
In some cases, Mass Health may pay for emergency treatment when you are out of state. It is recommended that you try as best you can to report any out-of-state emergency treatments to your primary care doctor as soon as possible. Mass Health does not cover any medical services provided outside the United States and its territories.
Applying for Health Insurance
If you are living in Massachusetts, apply for Mass Health through the MA Health Connector.
If you are living outside of Massachusetts and in need of affordable healthcare please visit the federal site: healthcare.gov. Select your state to view the affordable healthcare options.
Individuals with disabilities can obtain a Transportation Access Pass (TAP) CharlieCard to ride the MBTA at discounted rates. To obtain a TAP CharlieCard for the first time, you'll need to complete a TAP application. Our office can help you qualify for the pass. Contact the Threshold Alumni Center for a copy of the application.
The CharlieCard Store
The CharlieCard Store is located in Downtown Crossing Station (underground concourse) in Boston, accessible by the Red and Orange MBTA subway lines.
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00 am–5:30 pmPhone: 617.222.3200
If you have a missing or expired pass, you can go to the CharlieCard Store at Downtown Crossing with a photo ID for a replacement card, or contact the Threshold Alumni Center.
SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which used to be called Food Stamps. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food at grocery stores and now even some farmers markets, making shopping for healthy food easier. SNAP benefits are given to you each month on a plastic card called an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer card). The card looks and works just like a debit card.
Qualifying for SNAP
Many different people qualify for the nutritional assistance program, including those who are working in a paid position. We recommend using this free, online SNAP (Food Stamps) screening tool to see if you qualify. Keep in mind that the screening tool does not cover everything: if you think you may qualify, we can help you with the application process.
Applying for SNAP
Affordable housing options in the state of Massachusetts have very long waiting lists. If you qualify, we recommend applying but understanding that this process takes a substantial amount of time. The earlier you apply, the better off you'll be.
Rental assistance programs, including federally funded Section 8, help low-income individuals rent apartments by providing financial assistance through local housing authorities. Eligibility is based on income. You can find the income for the particular city or town you may be interested in through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). People who are granted Section 8 pay a percentage of their monthly rent and the Section 8 voucher will cover the difference. The landlord renting the apartment decides the amount paid for rent.
Application/Waiting List for Section 8 Housing
We recommend applying to the centralized waiting list. There are 98 communities participating in the centralized waiting list. Obtain a Section 8 application, or apply online for the centralized waiting list.
You may also apply to each housing authority that does not participate in the centralized list. The City of Cambridge does not participate in the list, but their application can be found through the Cambridge Housing Authority; however, their lists are currently closed.
There are different types of public housing available, such as housing for families, elderly, and individuals with disabilities. Your income must be less than 80 percent of the area median income. Income guidelines vary depending on the location and year. View the guidelines via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The rent you pay is based on your household income and expenses.
Application/Waiting List for Public Housing
The waiting list for public housing is very long. You must put your name on the waiting list that is kept by the local housing authority in the community where you wish to live. You are able to put your name on as many lists as you qualify for. Make sure to update your contact information, especially phone numbers and address, with the housing authority, as this is how they will contact you.
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission's (MRC) Vocational Rehabilitation Program provides employment support, including finding or maintaining a job. As a graduate of Threshold, you qualify for services. We are happy to refer students to Vocational Rehabilitation programs and help with the application process. Typically, there is a waiting list for these services.
Vocational Rehabilitation Services by State
Nutritional Assistance (SNAP)
Curriculum and Career Paths
Residence and Student Life
Faculty and Staff
Director: Dr. Ernst VanBergeijk
Admissions and Financial Aid
Tuition and Fees
Threshold Alumni Support Center
Resources and Benefits Assistance
Gainful Employment Information
Lesley Email and LOIS
Student Activities Blog
Contact us if you should need assistance. We also welcome feedback, requests, or suggestions from our alumni.