Helping Your Child With Disabilities Through Life

Children with developmental disabilities have it rough. They need more money and care to support them, and when parents simply do not have the funds, it becomes a monumental burden. If you have recently been told that your child has a disabling condition, you may feel quite overwhelmed, especially when it comes to their physical, emotional and mental health needs. There are long term Medicaid  services in every state that can help.

What Medicaid Is 

Medicaid is government health insurance provided to low income families and families with disabled children or adults in the home, typically for free. The household income is weighed against the current government poverty levels, which are regularly adjusted for changes in the economy. If your family qualifies, you have to apply through your County Human Services department, or through social services, whichever office has control over the application process. Usually, it is the same office through which you can apply for food stamps (or Foodshare, as it is called in some states). Additionally, if you receive food stamps, you automatically qualify for Medicaid.

What Medicaid Does

Medicaid effectively covers ALL costs for your children's needs, including medications. There is never a co-pay for prescription medications for the children, and co-pays for office visits are very low. Annual wellness appointments for your children are always free of charge. Emergency medical care via a hospital covered by your Medicaid plan is also free. Adults who care for the children receive reduced expenses under the plan, which includes very low co-pays on medications and office visits.

Long Term Services

There are also several long term services covered by Medicaid, such as hospice care and respite care. These services provided help ease the burden of caring for sick children with special needs at home, as well as provide parents with a much needed break from the heavy load of responsibility for special needs kids. You do have to apply for a long term care waiver, which requires a home visit from a social worker, and a lengthy application. Once you qualify for a long-term care waiver, the Medicaid coverage kicks in and covers everything from therapeutic services to weekend respite care.

The waiver may be reviewed once every few years to make sure your special needs children still qualify and to modify services as needed. However, most children that qualify for the waiver are covered in perpetuity and the review is more or less just a formality. As your children approach adulthood, transfers into a group home or assisted living facility may be discussed, thus alleviating you of any worries regarding your children's future.