My Child Has Autism. Can I Get Financial Benefits?
If your child has been diagnosed with autism, it can be difficult emotionally and mentally. In addition, raising a child with autism can take a substantial financial toll on your family. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, it can cost between $67,000 per year and $72,000 per year in direct medical and nonmedical expenses to care for a child with autism. This can mean paying extra for doctor appointments, medications, therapy, special education, and child care. It is tough to pay for all these things if you don’t have the money. However, your child with autism may be eligible for financial benefits.
One of the best programs for financial benefits for children with autism in California is In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). The purpose of IHSS is to help children with disabilities like autism, and their families, who have limited financial resources. Children with certain disabilities can be eligible for IHSS financial benefits beginning from birth. In the case of parents with autistic children, this money can help provide needed therapies and care to maximize a child’s abilities and strengths.
How Do You Get Paid with IHSS?
In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is a federal program that provides financial benefits so you, as your child’s caretaker, can give the best supervision and care for your child in the comfort of your own home. This means that you can receive an hourly wage to take care of your child.
This is money so the government does not have to pay for your child to be in the care of a government institution, which was the norm in the past. Due to the increasing parental wish to keep their children at home, integrate them into their local communities, and send them to the special needs programs provided by their own school districts, most of the institutions were closed down and the government offered to pay families to be the caregivers instead. And even though the government is saving a lot of money by paying parents directly instead of maintaining these institutions to stay open while also paying for doctors, nurses, administrators and staff, these financial benefits are not easy to get and the process to apply is long and complex.
What Documents Do I Need to Apply for IHSS?
Before you apply for IHSS financial benefits, you need to make sure you have all the required information.
This mostly includes medical information that will help prove that your family needs financial benefits. Try to get doctor’s notes, results from medical tests, and information about any therapies. Of course, a diagnosis from the doctor will help too. For children, ask for statements from teachers or other professionals who know how autism affects your child.
If you are very detailed on the application and bring as much information as you can, you may have a better chance of being approved.
The IHSS Application Process
Successfully receiving financial benefits for autism can be accomplished by accurately completing the IHSS application process. These financial benefits can be helpful when it comes to paying for therapy and other treatments, or simply affording daily expenses that become difficult when you are unable to work.
The key is to make sure you have as much information as possible that shows you’re your family meets the IHSS requirements and that your child and family needs financial benefits. Remember that the application process can be very lengthy, and you may need to seek the help of a disability advocate to present your case.
During the IHSS application process, you will have a home interview, which includes a visit from a social worker who will check the capabilities of your child.
During the interview with the county representative, it is important that you have every piece of documented evidence of why your child needs IHSS. Your child’s IEP should also be present, as well as any documents from his doctor or other healthcare providers. It is beneficial to keep a Dangerous Behavior Log to share with the social worker. Once the case is approved, you will get a Notice of Action, which breaks down how many hours you will get paid to take care of your child with autism.
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.
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