Life Foundation is the “front door” to the AIDS care system on Oahu.  People living with HIV can face a number of challenges while finding out what community and government services are available to them.

At Life Foundation, experienced case managers guide HIV positive clients through this process, and help them access existing resources such as food stamps, health care, social security, housing assistance, financial benefits, and in-home support.

There are additional supports on the outer islands located at Malama Pono on Kauai, Maui AIDS Foundation on Maui, and The Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation on Hawaii Island.

Social Security Benefits

If you have HIV/AIDS and can’t work, you may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Social Security pays disability benefits under two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) for people who paid Social Security taxes; and the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) for people who have little income and few resources. You may qualify for benefits from both programs.

Visit Social Security’s HIV/AIDS FAQ for more information.

What if I go back to work?

There are special rules that let your benefits continue while you work. These rules are important for people with HIV/AIDS who go back to work when they are feeling better. These rules are the work incentives for SSDI and SSI.

SSA Work Incentives

A Community Work Incentive Coordinator (CWIC) can explain the SSA programs for which you are eligible, and how earnings from work might affect benefits.

Ask about Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWE), Blind Work Expenses (BWE), Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS), and rules 1619(a) and 1619(b).

Social Security’s Redbook has a listing of work incentives for SSDI and SSI beneficiaries:

Contacting a CWIC

Hawaii Disability Rights Center
900 Fort Street Mall, Suite 1040
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
(808) 949-2922
(800) 882-1057 Toll free
(808) 949-2928 Fax

HIV Drug Assistance Program (HDAP)

HDAP provides medication to Hawaii’s residents who have limited income and can’t get HIV medications from any other sources. Medications are provided at no cost to the patient.

HDAP provides medications to:

  • Treat HIV infection
  • Prevent and treat opportunistic infections
  • Treat HIV-associated anemia and wasting
  • Treat side effects of HIV
  • The drugs that can be provided are listed on the HDAP drug assistance program formulary

To be eligible for HDAP:

  • Live in Hawai‘i
  • Be HIV positive
  • Be under a physician’s care
  • Be unable to access medication through prescription drug insurance, medicaid, or other sources
  • Have income not more than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level for Hawai‘i ($45,080 per year for a single person in 2006)
  • Have liquid assets of no more than $10,000 (Not including residence, one vehicle, and federally recognized retirement accounts)
  • Be enrolled in one of the agencies funded by the state to provide HIV case management

Applications for HDAP are handled through agencies that partner with the Department of Health to provide HIV Case Management. The case management agency is required to maintain documentation to support eligibility, including documentation of residence, income, assets, and insurance. Clients receiving HDAP services must be recertified through the case management agency every six months to maintain eligibility.

Medicare Coverage

People with Medicare with HIV/AIDS can benefit substantially from Medicare’s new drug coverage.  Medicare will cover about 50% of the drug bill for the average person and even more, 96%, for those with limited incomes and resources.

Other Resources

Vocational Rehabilitation and Services
VR provides individualized services to help clients achieve meaningful employment.
601 Kamokila Blvd. Rm. 515
Kapolei, Hawaii 96707
(808) 692-7720
(808) 692-7727 Fax

Social Security Administration
300 Ala Moana Blvd. Rm. 1-114
Honolulu, HI 96850
(800) 772-1213 Toll-free
(808) 541-1060
(808) 541-3534 Fax
(800) 325-0778 TTY