Finding the right resources to help offset healthcare costs for children with special needs can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of government programs that may be available to help pay for services if your son or daughter qualifies as a Child with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN). A CSHCN is typically defined as living with conditions such as attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADD and ADHD), Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, or autism. Here are the three benefits your child may be eligible to receive:
Medicaid is a state-run, needs-based program with eligibility requirements determined by income levels. Typically, Medicaid assistance is reserved for low-income families that have children with special needs, though there are exceptions to that rule as other children with special needs can receive benefits if they require a high level of care in an institutional facility.
In addition, the families of children with special health care needs and foster children may also qualify for Medicaid if they spend a significant amount of money on health care, but each situation is different. It’s best to speak with an experienced special needs attorney to help find out if your child qualifies for Medicaid assistance under CSHCN rules.
State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
While Medicaid is a state-run assistance program, SCHIP is run by the federal government and provides benefits for children with special needs who cannot meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid. SCHIP does not cover as many services as Medicaid and is available to families of children with special needs with an income level between 200% – 300% above the national poverty level. Again, it is best to consult with a special needs lawyer before applying for SCHIP benefits.
Maternal and Child Health Bureau Agencies
The third benefit program available is the Maternal and Child Health Bureau which cares for new mothers and their infants and children with special needs. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau Agencies serve children with special healthcare needs and their families with aid and services that are not typically covered by Medicaid or SCHIP. If you think these services might be a good fit for your child, you may want to work with an experienced special needs attorney to find out how to get these benefits in conjunction with either Medicaid or SCHIP.
If you would like to get more information about these three programs, please set up an appointment at the Tampa area office of the Law Office of Laurie E. Ohall by calling (813) 438-8503.