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Where Do I Get Financial Help to Raise My Child with Special Needs?

Where Do I Get Financial Help to Raise My Child with Special Needs?

Raising a child with special needs such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or another disability can be costly. Throughout their lives, your child may require expensive treatments, therapies, or surgery, medical equipment, modifications to your house and car, and constant care. Parents often end up taking extensive time off work, or one parent may stop working to become a full-time caretaker. It is common for you to struggle to provide for your family. In California, there are programs that provide financial help so you can raise your child with special needs.

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

This is the top financial program offered in California. In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is a Medi-Cal financial program (Medicaid in California is called Medi-Cal). It provides financial help to children with special needs. This includes personal care and assistance with household chores so they can remain in their own homes. You do not need special medical training to become a provider for this financial program.

California’s IHSS financial program is very broad in the range of persons who can be hired. Siblings, adult children, nieces, nephews, friends and even spouses can all participate in the financial program. This means that you, as a parent of a child with special needs, can be the provider who gets paid to take care of your child.

However, your child must be assessed to have a need for assistance. Assistance determining eligibility and qualifying for IHSS is available. Seeking an advocate who can walk you through the process is helpful in getting approved for the financial program. 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)  

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program typically given to adults, but financial help can also be provided to children if they have a serious medical condition or disability. However, there are income maximums, which apply both to the child and their family.

Conditions that may qualify a child for SSI include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Down syndrome
  • Severe intellectual disability
  • Muscular dystrophy

To apply for Social Security benefits on behalf of a child, a parent/guardian must complete an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as well as a Child Disability Report.

California CalWORKS (TANF)

CalWORKs is a welfare financial program that gives cash aid and services to eligible needy families in California. If you do not have a lot of money and you need housing, food, utilities, clothing, or medical care, you may be eligible to receive immediate short-term financial help.

In order to qualify for this financial program, you must be a resident of the state of California, responsible for a child who is a minor, a U.S. national, citizen, legal noncitizen, or permanent resident, have low or very low income, and be either under-employed (working for very low wages), unemployed or about to become unemployed.

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.


Dial (877) 762-0702 or email us at [email protected].

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