Having a child with special needs can be very expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are funds available to help families pay for the many services needed. It is also important to put certain pieces in place to ensure that if anything happens to you, your child with a disability will be cared for and have the means to survive.
Government disability benefits, assistive technology devices, special housing funds and other financial benefits are available for people with disabilities and their families. The most relevant financial resources are as follows:
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes), designed to help aged, blind and disabled people, who have little or no income. It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (ABLE) states that its purpose is to (1) encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence, and quality of life; and (2) provide secure funding for disability-related expenses of beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) and title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act, the beneficiary's employment, and other sources. For more information, click here.
Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services (JFS), through the Center for Families & Children, offer a number of supports for families with special needs. It includes but is not limited to:
- Emergency Financial Assistance
- Jacobson Family Food Pantry
- Summer Camp Scholarships
- ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Therapy
- Adaptive Equipment
- Supportive Shadows
- Respite Care
The Agency for Persons with Disabilities works in partnership with local communities to ensure the safety, well-being and self-sufficiency for persons with developmental disabilities throughout Florida. The agency provides assistance to identify the needs of people with developmental disabilities and funding to purchase supports and services. The developmental disabilities identified in Florida law are: Spina Bifida, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Prader-Willi, Down Syndrome and Intellectual Disability. Medicaid Waiver helps people to receive long-term care in the community and it is through Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
The Agency for Persons with Disabilities provides support coordinators to assist both children and adults in identifying and securing the supports and services they need to live, work and play in places they chose.
Alpert Jewish Family & Children’s Service Life Planning Program offers educational seminars, individual consultations, advocacy and emotional support to families who have a family member with any type of disability, including intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental illness and TBI. The program assists families with making viable and appropriate future plans for their family members.
Coalition for Independent Living promotes independence for people with disabilities.