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Cerebral palsy, like many other lifelong disorders, can get quite costly. Many parents are unprepared for the expenses that come along with raising a child with cerebral palsy, especially those who don’t know their child has the disorder until after birth. Fortunately, there is assistance available for families to help offset the costs.
Cerebral Palsy Cash Assistance
The U.S. government has a number of programs available to needy families with special needs children, which helps with temporary needs and long-term health support. However, in order to qualify for cash assistance, the family must meet specific guidelines, which vary according to the state you live in.
In general, cash assistance is available to families who meet the income thresholds set forth by the government. Generally, cash assistance for the government is reserved for low-income families. When children with cerebral palsy grow older and have work limitation may also be able to receive their own cash assistance.
Contact your local health and human services department for more information on how to apply and what you may be eligible for. Keep in mind that you will have to go through a strict application process and provide proof of income, if applicable. It is a long process, but if you qualify, you’ll receive cash assistance that can greatly help your family.
Under section 111.000 of the Social Security Disability Evaluation, children with cerebral palsy who have motor dysfunction qualify for social security benefits.  In order to get social security benefits for your child, however, and it’s important to be prepared for the process. Children with severe motor disabilities are generally automatically approved for social security benefits as long as they have medical documentation.
For children with minor motor disabilities, the requirements are more stringent. Parents may need to show additional documentation that proves the child’s impairment. The Social Security Administration will give you an exact list of requirements.
Other forms of disorders that will help qualify your child for Social Security cash assistance include:
- Seizure disorders
- An IQ of less than 70
- Severe communication problems
- Severe emotional problems and disorders
Once you’ve applied for social security benefits and the application is approved, you can expect a set amount of cash assistance each month.
In addition to cash assistance, social security benefits may also include insurance. Social security insurance is designed for people who have physical and/or developmental disabilities that affect their ability to work. Although some children with cerebral palsy will grow up and find gainful employment without the need for assistance, others may have limited abilities that allow them to obtain insurance.
Social security can also provide Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which helps people with disabilities with things such as house payments, living costs, heating and energy bills, and general miscellaneous expenses.
Some children with cerebral palsy will require special education assistance while in public school to ensure they obtain a quality education. The Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004 was designed so the children can receive an individualized education that suits their individual needs. 
There are numerous different types of educational plans that can assist children with their individualized needs, including:
- Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP)
- Individualized Education Program (IEP)
- Individualized Education Evaluation (IEE)
- Individualized Health Plan (IHP)
- Individualized Transition Plan (ITP)
For in-depth information on each plan, as well as more details on educational assistance, refer to our article Cerebral Palsy Educational Assistance.
Assistance from Disability Organizations
There are many disability organizations that offer assistance to those with cerebral palsy and numerous other disabilities, including the following:
- United Cerebral Palsy Organization
- International Cerebral Palsy Society
- Easter Seals
- Cerebral Palsy Foundation
- March of Dimes
Each organization offers a unique range of assistance, including therapy, summer camps, fundraisers for awareness, and more.
The United Cerebral Palsy is one of the largest organizations and biggest advocates for people with Cerebral in the United States. For additional information, refer to our article United Cerebral Palsy.
Child Care Assistance
Most of the time, when the word child care comes up, people tend to think of daycare centers where numerous children are watched and supervised while parents are at work. Although that is one aspect of child care, some parents may opt to have a babysitter who works with children with cerebral palsy in their home while they’re out. Both types of child care have benefits and cons.
Children attending a daycare center will have numerous other children to play with, as well as planned activities that can be done in groups. Children are typically broken into groups by age, starting at infancy, throughout the maximum age that the daycare center allows.
In-home care allows children to have more one-on-one time with caregivers, as well as feel more comfortable as they are in their own home. Many parents who have children with cerebral palsy find home care services easier for the child, due to one-on-one attention in a comfortable, well-known environment.
However, sometimes in-home care with a caregiver who specializes in caring for children with cerebral palsy can be more expensive when compared to daycare centers.
Child care costs continue to soar, increasing faster than many families can afford, especially families with children who have cerebral palsy and already require many additional medical and therapy services.
Fortunately, some families may qualify for government-assisted childcare, and under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the chosen daycares must provide the proper caregiving and accommodations to meet each child’s needs. 
In order to qualify government child care needs, the most common way is to apply for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). TANF allows 30% of your state’s allocations to be spent directly for child care.  In other words, if you apply and are accepted into the TANF program, you can receive additional funds to be used only for child care.
In addition to TANF, the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCRC) provides free childcare services to needy families who meet the following qualifications:
- Parent or parents must meet the income requirement (low-income)
- Parent or parents must attend school or work at least 20 hours per week.
Keep in mind that these qualifications may vary depending on the state you live in. Be certain to contact your local Department of Social Services for more information.
CCRC is open to children 13 years of age or younger or children of any age who live with a disability. Once you apply to the program, you’ll need to complete an enrollment process and choose a qualifying child care center.
Afterward, CCRC reimburses the child care provider, however, reimbursement rates may vary by state.
Other Child Care Assistance Options
In many states, non-profit agencies can help out financially with child care bills. Some agencies specifically help children with cerebral palsy or other disabilities. For information, contact your local Department of Health and Human Services.
- Disability Evaluation Under Social Security. (n.d.). The United States Social Security Administration.
Retrieved from: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). (n.d.). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Retrieved from: https://sites.ed.gov/idea/
- Get Help Paying For Child Care. (n.d.). Childcare.gov. Administration for Children & Families.
Retrieved from: https://www.childcare.gov/consumer-education/get-help-paying-for-child-care
- States Should Invest More of Their TANF Dollars in Basic Assistance for Families. (2020, February 25). Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Retrieved from: https://www.cbpp.org/research/family-income-support/states-should-invest-more-of-their-tanf-dollars-in-basic-assistance