A disability can consume a family's time, energy and money along with altering the lives of every family member; for children, this can be especially difficult. According to the Social Security Administration, "about 4.4 million children receive approximately $2.4 billion each month because one or both of their parents are disabled, retired or deceased." Luckily there are some programs out there may help ease this difficulty. The children of disabled parents are often eligible for financial assistance, medical assistance and educational assistance even if they do not live with the disabled parent.
Financial Assistance -- SSDI
The children of Social Security Title 2 (SSDI) recipients are generally eligible for auxiliary benefits through the Social Security Administration. Auxiliary benefits provide a monthly payment of up to 50 percent of the parent's disability benefit per child with a cap on the maximum benefit per family.
Financial Assistance -- SSI
Children of parents who receive SSI are not eligible for Auxiliary benefits, but they may be eligible for AFDC/TANF. The AFDC/TANF program is a state-administered program that provides both financial support and possibly food stamps depending on eligibility. Children are eligible for this program until age 18 pending they are full-time students.
Children of disabled parents may be eligible for Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program to cover their healthcare needs. These programs provide coverage for all eligible children from birth through their 19th birthday pending they continue to meet the eligibility guidelines. Although there are renewal periods, there is no time limit to a child's eligibility for this program.
The Medicaid program is a state-administered program that provides health care services to low income disabled individuals and their children. The Medicaid program generally covers doctor and hospital care along with prescription, vision, hearing and dental care
Children's Health Insurance Program is also a state-administered health care program for families that exceed the income guidelines for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance. The children of SSDI recipients are generally eligible for this program. The Children's Health Insurance Program is currently available throughout the United States and provides the same coverage as Medicaid.
There is an array of various scholarships and grants available to the children of disabled parents. When starting the search for grants and scholarships, it is recommended that parents and students review the U.S. Department of Education's website and complete the FAFSA. This website will help provide parents and students alike with a wealth of information about everything from selecting a school to financial options. There are also free websites like Scholarship.com and Fastweb.com that match student with scholarships and grants based on a list of questions. These websites not only look at the student but also the parent's situation. The generally ask about the parent's education and employment background along with their disability status in order to provide a thorough list of grants and scholarships that meet the child's needs.