There are a variety of government programs that benefit children and adults with special needs, such as:
SSI (Supplemental Security Income) – SSI makes monthly payments to low income individuals who have limited resources. SSI is for individuals who are over the age of 65, disabled, or for disabled children with limited income and resources and whose families have limited income and resources. Once a disabled child reaches age 18, the income and resources of family members are no longer counted in deciding whether the individual can receive SSI.
SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) – SSDI pays benefits to adults who have a disability that started before they reached the age of 22. SSDI is dependent on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. For a disabled adult to receive SSDI, one of his or her parents must either be receiving Social Security benefits, or must have died and have worked long enough under the Social Security system.
Medicaid and Medicare – Medical benefits are available through Medicaid and Medicare. In many states, children who get SSI qualify for Medicaid automatically. Medicare is available for people over the age of 65 and for people who have been getting Social Security disability payments for at least two years.
Children’s Health Insurance Program – This is a program that allows states to provide health insurance to children with incomes that are too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to pay for private health insurance. In some cases, this may be a good option for a special needs child who doesn’t qualify for other programs.
If you believe your special needs child or loved one may qualify for government benefits but is not currently receiving them, it’s important to contact the appropriate office – Medicare, Medicaid, or the Social Security Administration should be able to give you answers.
Although planning for the future of a special needs child can be overwhelming, it’s vital to ensure the protection of the child in the future. Contact a financial professional and a legal professional. They will be able to refer you to resources you may not have known existed, and can help guide you through the steps that must be taken to protect your loved ones.