Getting Financial Support After a Birth Injury
There are several types of financial support available for children and families affected by birth injuries. Assistance from government programs and grants from nonprofit health organizations cover much of the financial support that families with birth injuries receive.
However, birth injuries caused by medical malpractice may be eligible for a financial settlement that can help cover the costs of medical care, adaptive equipment and living expenses.
Government programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offer significant assistance to millions of families across the country.
If a birth injury has left your family in need, you may be eligible for help from one of these programs.
Types of Financial Support
Government assistance and nonprofit grants are the most common forms of financial support for families with a child suffering from a birth injury. Here are several types of financial support that your family may consider.
Birth injury grants are offered through nonprofit organizations, as well as through some state and federal government programs. Birth injury grants may take the form of a disability grant or a housing grant. These grants can pay for medical treatments, adaptive equipment and living expenses.
Birth injury grants vary in degree. They can be anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Here are a few examples of grants that are geared towards the birth injury cerebral palsy.
- Department of Developmental Services (DDS): A DDS grant is available to individuals with cerebral palsy who are also intellectually disabled.
- The Foundation Center: The Foundation Center has an online database of cerebral palsy grant opportunities that is updated quarterly. The database requires a paid subscription.
- Children’s Charity Fund: The Children’s Charity Fund offers a cerebral palsy grant of up to $500 to help pay for medical equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches and more.
- Disabled Children’s Relief Fund: The DCRF has grants to help pay for physical therapy, assistive equipment and other medical necessities.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federal program that disburses money to the states to provide needy families with financial assistance and support services. Only U.S. citizens, legal aliens and permanent residents are eligible for TANF, and applicants must be unemployed or have low income.
Applicants must also either be pregnant or caring for a child under the age of 19. Each state determines its own TANF benefit for its residents. Therefore, check with your local officials to see which benefits are available. States generally offer child care, pre-K, child welfare, work support, refundable tax credits and basic assistance.
WIC & Cerebral Palsy
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a federal program created to ensure that pregnant women and women with young children are able to receive financial assistance for supplemental food. Technically, WIC is a nutrition program geared towards women and their young children. To be eligible for WIC, women must meet residential, income and nutritional risk requirements.
Benefits of WIC include:
- Nutrition education to promote healthy eating habits
- Vouchers to help families purchase nutritious foods
- Breastfeeding education and support
- Immunization record checks
- Dental health counseling
- Individual counseling and referrals for other health and human services
Medicare is a federal health insurance program created to ensure that the elderly have access to affordable healthcare. It also covers individuals with disabilities.
Medicare Part B covers doctors’ visits and outpatient care, while Medicare Part A covers hospital stays and home care. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs. Individuals who receive Social Security Disability Insurance are automatically eligible for Medicare regardless of age.
Medicare covers the following services:
- Doctor visits
- Some medical equipment
- Some home health care
- Mental health services
- Prescription drugs
- Vision and dental care
Medicaid offers health coverage to over 60 million low-income Americans. The program is administered by the federal government but effectively run at the state level. State governments also share in some of the program’s costs.
Each state determines the scope of services available in its Medicaid program. Therefore, check with your local officials to see if Medicaid covers your child’s condition.
Typically, low-income families, pregnant women and their children and individuals on Supplemental Security Income are eligible for Medicaid. Applications for Medicaid are processed through your state’s Medicaid agency or through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Medicaid services include:
- Medical supplies
- Inpatient/outpatient treatment programs
- Psychological services
- In-home nursing care
- Communication devices
Home Modification Assistance
Home modification assistance may be available to individuals with a disability. Home modifications are adjustments to lessen the barriers that a person with a disability may face in their home. These barriers may prevent the person from entering or using a living space. They also can prevent independence, increase frustration and even put the person in danger.
Occupational therapists are one of the best resources if you are considering modifying your home. Occupational therapists are trained to evaluate the home and recommend modifications to fit your child’s needs.
If your child is still in grade school, home modification assistance may be included in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Other resources for home modification assistance include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Fair Housing Act.
Funding for home modification assistance for cerebral palsy can come from:
- Federally Assisted housing
- Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)
- Property Improvement Loans (Title I)
- Rehabilitation Loans (Section 203(k))
- A legal settlement
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, is a federal program designed to ensure that children maintain access to the nutritious food they need to stay healthy. SNAP helps families buy nutritious food.
Formerly known as the Food Stamp program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can help eligible families buy food for their disabled child that they otherwise could not afford. SNAP benefits are generally distributed by the states and come in the form of debit cards.
Financial Support Can Reduce Your Burden
If your child has suffered a birth injury, your family does not have to go through the process alone. There are financial options that can help support your family and your child. Programs such as SNAP, WIC and TANF can all reduce the financial burden of a birth injury.
Birth injuries caused by medical malpractice can potentially lead to a financial settlement with medical providers that can help pay for your child’s care. You do not have to struggle through the birth injury treatment process on your own. There are opportunities to receive the financial assistance you may deserve.