Raising children is financially difficult for many families, but particularly for parents of children with autism. More than forty percent of families with a child with special needs report experiencing significant financial stress. Thirty percent of parents of children with disabilities quit their jobs or significantly cut back in order to provide care for their child. This isn’t anything new to those of you who are experiencing these life shifts. However, how do you balance the challenges of caring for your child as well as paying all the bills sufficiently?
That is the big question for most parents.
Because staying at home doesn’t just mean that you are baking cookies and playing patty-cake. It means you’re on the phone arguing with your insurance company about getting services, attending multiple meetings about school, and transporting your child from speech therapy to doctor appointments. And because the service system for kids with autism is not as well defined, there’s not as much appropriate treatment available, and what is available needs to be fought for.
Experts say that caring for a child with autism is like running a fulltime business—it requires at least one person who is dedicating a continual effort. And while some of you have been able to return to the workforce, most of the time, it's not possible.
And so, what is the solution? can you get paid to stay at home to care for your child?
This is a complicated question and the answer varies depending on your circumstances. Yet as parents of a child with autism, you are entitled to certain rights. But often figuring out what you are entitled to is difficult and overwhelming to say the least. The first thing you want to do is contact your regional center for help and resources by clicking this link: http://www.dds.ca.gov/RC/RCList.cfm.
Then, do some research online regarding the following financial assistance services:
In-Home Supportive Services
For qualified families, the state of California has a program called In-Home Supportive Service (IHSS), which pays an individual caregiver to stay home and care for a developmentally disabled child. Many of the behaviors that can cause injury, hazards or accidents in children with autism are wandering, eloping, darting away, or climbing. Parents who have been deemed caregivers are granted a specific amount of hours every month so the child can remain safely in their own home, as it is considered an alternative to out-of-home care such as board and care facilities.
California has a program for individuals with developmental disabilities called a Medicaid Waiver, which is designed to provide support services and care to allow an individual to remain at home or in the community, rather than in an institution or hospital. The benefits provided by this waiver program generally provides coverage for medical treatments, respite care, transportation, in-home support, and more.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a monthly government payment through Social Security that was created to support people who are disabled. To help support them financially, individuals with autism may be eligible to receive SSI.
Information on this and other programs can be found at www.disability.gov.
Private or Non-Profit Organizations
Some private organizations and non-profits offer family grants, scholarships, and other types of financial assistance specifically to individuals with autism to help pay for autism-related expenses.
And as always, if you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.
American Advocacy group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome and a range of diagnoses across the continuum. As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.
CONTACT US FOR HELP.
Dial (877) 762-0702 or email us at [email protected].