Financial Support Explained
Caring for kids with cerebral palsy means a lifetime of expenses for therapy, adaptive equipment and more. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you will likely need the help and support from your community and from medical professionals.
While this support can significantly help improve your child’s condition and ease your stresses, it can be financially disruptive. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the cost of care for a child with cerebral palsy is 10 times higher than one without it. Fortunately, there are many resources that parents can turn to when seeking cerebral palsy aid for their child—from government-funded programs to educational scholarships.
Additionally, a monetary settlement from a cerebral palsy lawsuit can help lessen the financial burden. It can also help prevent similar situations from happening to other families.
If you believe your child’s cerebral palsy may have been caused by improper medical care during pregnancy or birth, cerebral palsy law firms can also be a great resource when seeking financial aid.
Cerebral Palsy Grants
A cerebral palsy grant is one form of financial help that can lessen some of the burden on families.
Cerebral palsy grants are offered by private organizations as well as through state and federal government programs. A cerebral palsy grant can take the form of a disability grant or a housing grant.
Cerebral palsy grants can pay for:
- Adaptive equipment
- Medical care
- Living expenses
A cerebral palsy grant can be hundreds or thousands of dollars. Every cerebral palsy grant is different.
These are just a few examples of the cerebral palsy grants available and how to find them:
- 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 for individuals 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.
While cerebral palsy grants can certainly help lessen the financial burden of paying for CP care, other cerebral palsy help options may be better suited for your child depending on the severity of their condition.
Temporary Assistance for Families
Caring for a child with cerebral palsy can be challenging under any circumstances. If your family is struggling to make ends meet and you have a child with cerebral palsy, your local Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program may be able to help.
The TANF program is run by the U.S. Office of Family Assistance. It provides financial aid for meeting basic needs. TANF can help pay for groceries, clothing, gas and electric bills, and some medical necessities.
Each state, territory and tribal area oversees its own TANF program. The name of the program, as well as eligibility requirements, will vary depending on local regulations.
The federal government does not provide TANF assistance directly to individuals. You must apply directly to your local state, territory or tribal area for assistance. Income is generally the main requirement for receiving money through TANF.
While government programs such as TANF and Medicaid can help with some of the financial burden of caring for a child with cerebral palsy, there is other assistance available.
WIC & Cerebral Palsy
Adapting to life changes after having a child with cerebral palsy can be overwhelming. Along with medications and equipment, your baby may need special foods that can be expensive. There is a government program called the Women, Infant, and Children Supplemental Nutrition program (WIC) for cerebral palsy children that may be a source of help.
WIC is a government-funded program that bases its outreach on the nutritional needs of pregnant women and young mothers. Usually, WIC applicants must fall at or below the poverty line to qualify for benefits.
Fortunately, WIC for children with cerebral palsy does not have that requirement. Because cerebral palsy is a brain injury that can inhibit children from ingesting proper nutrients, those diagnosed with the condition typically qualify for WIC benefits.
With WIC, children with cerebral palsy will not receive the same benefits in every state.
A general outline of the benefits includes:
- 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 for Cerebral Palsy
If you are the parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you may be worried about the high costs of care. Special medical care and equipment is usually necessary to ensure your child’s safety, comfort, growth ability and health.
Medicare for children with cerebral palsy may be one source of financial support for your family.
Medicare is a federally managed program available for people over the age of 65 or younger people with disabilities such as cerebral palsy. Because the damage that causes CP occurs before, during or shortly after birth, children with CP often qualify for this type of assistance.
However, Medicare for cerebral palsy children requires a deductible to be paid by the caregiver. If medical attention is needed often, these copays do add up. If your income is low, there are additional programs that offer financial support.
These programs include:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Insurance coverage
- Social security
- Other family assistance programs
While helpful, Medicare for cerebral palsy will only go so far. There are still costs related to transportation, special needs daycare and costs for out-of-school caretakers.
Medicare for cerebral palsy children covers the following services:
- Doctor visits
- Some medical equipment
- Some home health care
- Mental health services
- Prescription drugs
- Vision and dental care
Medicaid Coverage For Cerebral Palsy
Children diagnosed with cerebral palsy may face a lifetime of costly medical treatments. Without early and constant therapies and treatments, these children could be at risk of developing complications related to their cerebral palsy.
For those with cerebral palsy, Medicaid can help pay for health-enhancing treatments, ensuring that kids get the best care in order to gain the most independence possible.
Medicaid is a government program that pays for medical care for people with low incomes and limited resources, such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with disabilities. For those who qualify with cerebral palsy, Medicaid coverage can provide all services considered medically necessary.
For those with cerebral palsy, Medicaid services include:
- Medical supplies
- Inpatient/outpatient treatment programs
- Psychological services
- In-home nursing care
- Communication devices
However Medicaid does not cover rehabilitation and educational services for people with cerebral palsy.
Generally, your child will qualify for Medicaid if your family’s income is below a certain limit and they meet certain other criteria, such as being a U.S. citizen. For those with cerebral palsy, Medicaid coverage requirements vary by state. Your best bet for obtaining coverage is to fill out an application and have a caseworker evaluate your situation.
How to Apply for Medicaid
Contact your local Medicaid office to find out what your state requires and how to apply. In addition to receiving care through Medicaid, you may also be entitled to financial compensation if your child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence.
A lawsuit can help pay for treatments not covered under Medicaid and possibly prevent a similar injury from happening to another child.
Cerebral Palsy Home Modification Assistance
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.
Home modification assistance can help remove these barriers and accommodate children with cerebral palsy.
Occupational therapists are one of the best resources if you’re considering modifying your home. Occupational therapists are trained to evaluate the home and recommend modifications to fit your child’s needs. Occupational therapists may also be able to get you financial assistance for the modification, as they may have contacts for funding opportunities.
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 along with other fair housing laws and presidential executive orders.
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
Children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy face special nutritional challenges. Kids with cerebral palsy need a good nutrition program carefully tailored to their needs. Without it, they may be at risk of developing health complications. Many children may not be able to properly or adequately digest food depending on the severity of their condition.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help prevent many of the problems related to poor nutrition from cerebral palsy. The program ensures that kids with CP can gain access to the 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.
Run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), SNAP varies from state to state in terms of income requirements and other eligibility criteria. Most states deliver their food assistance through easy-to-use debit cards.
Other programs that can add support to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for cerebral palsy include:
- Free school meals
- Summer food service plans
- The Women, Infant and Children Supplemental Nutrition program (WIC)
Your local human services and public assistance offices can provide information on SNAP assistance and the application process.
An occupational therapist can help design a good nutritional program around the unique needs of a child with cerebral palsy and what food is provided under SNAP.