Parenting any child can be a challenge. Parenting a child who has physical, developmental or emotional disabilities can multiply these demands tenfold. Among the challenges faced by the parent of a special needs child are paying the bills, care-giving on a daily basis, and advocating for your child’s access to available services, including healthcare and education.
Financial Assistance for Parents with Disabled Children
Many state and federal government programs provide financial and other forms of assistance to parents who are raising children with disabilities. Your child may qualify for Supplemental Security Income Disability benefits. If eligible, the child may receive monthly checks until age 18. This could provide some much-needed funds to help alleviate your financial burden and provide your child with things that you otherwise couldn't afford.
Obtaining Free and Low-cost Medical Coverage
When it comes to necessary medical care, the costs can be astronomical if you don’t have private insurance. Depending on your child's disability, you may be eligible for Medicaid coverage, which can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket medical costs or sometimes eliminate them entirely. Applying to various government programs can be confusing and overwhelming. Some attorneys specialize in helping parents of children with disabilities who desperately need assistance but don't know how to get it.
Other Resources for Parents
Many nonprofit organizations provide valuable resources to parents of special needs children. Among these services are day camps and recreational centers that focus on the needs of children who suffer from similar disabilities. Taking advantage of these services can give you a much-needed break. If your child needs special equipment like a wheelchair or other medical devices, you may be able to find a charity that will give you these things for free.
Education Assistance for Children with Disabilities
The federal government requires all public schools through high school to provide children who suffer from disabilities with special services to help them succeed in their courses. Such services revolve around an IEP, or Individualized Education Program, which is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The same services must also be made available to your child at private schools. If your child is struggling in school due to a disability, you have the right to seek appropriate services and take legal action if these services are denied or inadequate.
A Family Law or Disability Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding the care of children with disabilities is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a family law or disability lawyer.