Families with disabled children may struggle to make ends meet. In addition to the regular expenses of raising children, children with disabilities may need special foods or formulas, more medical care than typical children need, special furniture or equipment, modifications to the house to make it wheelchair accessible and other costly things. In addition, one or both parents may only be able to work part-time or may not be able to work at all if their children require fulltime care due to their disabilities.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) makes monthly support payments for children with disabilities that significantly interfere with their daily functioning. Their families must meet income guidelines in order to qualify. Apply at your local Social Security Administration office or call 800-772-1213 to request an application.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) makes monthly payments to families with low or no incomes, including families with disabled children. Families do not have to have disabled children in order to qualify for TANF, but benefits are especially helpful for families in which at least one parent cannot work regularly because the child needs fulltime care at home. In many states, families can only receive TANF for a few years but they may be able to apply for an extension under special circumstances, like having disabled children that need fulltime care. Apply at the welfare office in the county in which you live.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, helps families with disabled children purchase healthful foods every month. Families do not have to have disabled children in order to qualify for SNAP but those that do can earn more money and still qualify for benefits. Those that qualify for SSI or TANF will probably qualify. Apply at the welfare office in the county in which you live.
Home Energy Assistance Program
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps needy families pay home heating and cooling bills. Families do not have to have disabled children in order to qualify for HEAP but families with disabled members may receive more money. Contact your state’s department of energy or your local utility company to find out how to apply in your area.
Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to many children from families with low incomes. In many states, those that qualify for SSI automatically qualify for Medicaid. Families that qualify for TANF usually qualify for Medicaid, also. Medicaid covers expenses related to a child’s disability as well as other medical and dental expenses. Apply at the welfare office in the county in which you live.
Social Security Administration. http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10026.html . Benefits for Children With Disabilities.
Administration for Children and Families. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/tanf/about.html . About TANF.
United States Department of Agriculture. http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/contact_info/default.htm . Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. http://www.cms.gov/MedicaidGenInfo/ . Medicaid Overview.