Benefits Counseling


San Francisco AIDS Foundation's financial benefits program helps clients navigate the complex private and public benefits system, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), General Assistance, Food Stamps, Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid program), Medicare, CARE/HIPP, and Social Security.  Our skilled counselors provide one-on-one advocacy, assessing what benefits clients are eligible to receive, and can also assist in the application process.

Below are descriptions of the various benefit programs available in San Francisco as well as frequently asked questions.  Please call (415) 487-8000 if you'd like more information or to schedule an appointment with a benefits counselor.

What is the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and how do I enroll?

ADAP is a prescription drug assistance program funded by the federal Ryan White CARE Act and state funds. The program assists people living with HIV who lack adequate health insurance to access HIV-related medications that they otherwise could not afford. ADAP pays either a co-payment and deductibles or the entire cost of medications, depending on whether the client has some form of insurance. San Francisco residents can enroll in ADAP at different sites throughout the city and also at San Francisco AIDS Foundation.  Call (415) 487-8000 to request an appointment.  People outside of San Francisco can call 1-888-311-7632 to learn where to enroll.

What are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

SSDI is the Social Security retirement fund, which you may receive under age 65 if you are disabled.  SSI is a needs-based program for disabled people with little or no income.
To learn more about your eligibility for these programs or to discuss them with a benefits specialist, San Francisco residents can call us at (415) 487-8000.  People outside of San Francisco should call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or their local Social Security office for more information.

What is California State Disability Insurance (SDI)?

SDI is a short-term benefit administered by the state of California for disabled people and is intended for those whose disability is expected to last less than one year. SDI benefits are provided to workers who are unable to work due to an illness, injury, or pregnancy that is not covered by worker compensation law. To apply, California residents can call the Employment Development Department (EDD) at 1-800-480-3287. San Francisco residents can call one of our benefits counselors at (415) 487-8000 for more explanation and guidance, if needed.

I'm not a citizen of the US. Am I eligible for SSI?

The welfare reform act of 1996 eliminated Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) eligibility for most non-citizens. However, the state-funded Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) provides monthly cash benefits to aged, blind, and disabled non-citizens who are ineligible for SSI/SSP solely due to their immigrant status.  Please speak with a foundation benefits specialist to learn more.

What's the difference between Medi-CAL and Medicare?

Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program and is a joint federal and state program that pays for a broad range of medical services for low-income people who qualify, including doctor/dentist visits, X-rays, lab tests, prescription drugs, eye care, chiropractic services, and hospitalizations. To ask about your eligibility or to apply, California residents should call their local County Department of Public Social Services. San Francisco residents interested in Medi-Cal can call a San Francisco AIDS Foundation benefits specialist at (415) 487-8000.

Medicare is a federal health benefits program for people who are entitled to Social Security retirement insurance and for people with long-term disabilities (those who have been eligible to receive SSDI for 24 months). If you are eligible, enrollment is automatic for a portion of the programs; however, for comprehensive coverage the beneficiary must elect which programs they would like to participate in. Please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) for specific information about eligibility and enrollment.

What is this new Medicare drug benefit I have been hearing about and how does it affect my drug coverage?

The new Medicare drug benefit--also know as Medicare Part D--interacts in very complex ways with both California's ADAP and Medi-Cal. If you live in San Francisco and need more assistance in understanding the Medicare drug benefit and how it affects you, please call to schedule an appointment with a San Francisco AIDS Foundation benefits specialist at (415) 487-8000.

I'm having problems with my disability insurance. What can I do?

Contact a foundation benefits counselor and explain your situation. They can either directly assist you or they will encourage you to contact The Positive Resource Center (PRC), which specializes in disability law and advocacy for people with HIV/AIDS. PRC staff and attorneys can provide help with SSDI, SSI, long-term disability, and problems with health insurance policies. They can also provide representation before administrative law judges for reconsideration of disability denials. PRC can be reached at (415) 777-0333.