There are certain basic needs we cannot go without – food, water, and shelter are among them. When the costs of medical care, therapy, equipment, childcare, and other related expenses begin to accumulate, families of children with disabilities may need extra help paying for these basic needs.
Here, we’ll cover some of the most established sources of assistance for food and nutrition, housing and rent, and medical insurance. Please note that we do not run any of these programs: this page is merely meant to help our readers locate sources of assistance (from the government, non-profits, etc). To learn more about each program and how you may apply, please click on the links provided.
There are countless programs that work to keep families fed and reduce poverty; these are just a few of the most notable. Please click the “Food and Nutrition” link (above) for more details on these programs, or visit their websites directly through the links provided below:
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Also known as Food Stamps, SNAP helps low- and no-income people meet their nutritional needs. SNAP uses a system called Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT. EBT cards are loaded with funds once a month; these cards can be used at grocery stores and other food-selling locations.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Like SNAP, this program is run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It provides federal grants so that states can assist low-income women who are pregnant or have children, as well as children up to age five, in obtaining food, healthcare, and nutrition education.
School Nutrition Programs: There are several USDA-run programs that work to ensure children have enough to eat while in school, including the School Breakfast Program (SBP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Special Milk Program (SMP), and an afterschool snack service.
This page provides information on different types of living arrangements for people with disabilities (children and adults), as well as some federal, state, and nonprofit housing organizations that can be of assistance. These include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Section 811 (Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program), United Cerebral Palsy’s housing services, and much more.
Children with HIE and other disabilities require comprehensive health insurance plans in order to obtain high-quality medical and therapeutic care. This page discusses factors parents should consider when deciding on an insurance plan and provider. It also explains terms like “indemnity care,” “managed care,” “HMO,” and “PPO.” Finally, it gives an overview of several non-private insurance options, including the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), Medicaid and Medicaid Waivers, and Medicare.
In addition to concerns about paying for basic living expenses, many families of children with HIE feel overwhelmed by financial decisions related to taxes, personal accounts and trusts, etc. For more information about money-related topics, please visit our section on finances.
Visit our Disability Cost Guide here.