Top 10 Things Families Raising Kids with Disabilities Are Missing Out On
One of the most important things that Undivided Navigators help with is identifying what supports are available that a family might not even know about. From lesser-known funding programs to useful tools and resources, there are many supports in California for families raising kids with disabilities! We asked Jen and Swati, two Undivided Navigators and parents of kids with disabilities themselves, about the top 10 resources families should see if they are eligible for so that they don’t miss out.
1. Do you know about these surprising Regional Center benefits after age 3?
Many parents have the misconception that after their child finishes the Early Start program, they are done with Regional Center. A lot of families don’t realize that their child could qualify for continued Regional Center benefits under the Lanterman Act. After age 3, eligibility requires a diagnosed developmental disability that constitutes a substantial disability for that child.
A child who qualifies for Regional Center after age 3 is likely to be eligible for Medi-Cal, behavioral services, respite services, social skills activities, and much more. Did you know that Regional Center can provide social-recreational funding for summer camps, increased benefits during breaks and summer, and educational therapy?
Keep in mind that each Regional Center has a slightly different process, and service coordinators don't always do a great job guiding parents through everything that’s available. Undivided Navigators help make sure families know all the requirements and what they’re eligible for, so they can get set up with more services.
2. Ditch the three-ring binder and organize everything you need digitally.
Having the right documents when you need them is absolutely essential. It’s so frustrating to meet with your Regional Center service coordinator, and they don't mention that you need something until you are sitting in front of them. And if you don't have it, it delays the process even further.
This is where Undivided’s digital binder comes in handy. You can store all your child’s important documents in here and access them from anywhere, whether that’s in the middle of a meeting, at the doctor’s office, or in an emergency.
Navigator Jen says, “I absolutely love the organization of the Undivided digital app! It's so convenient for on the go with our mobile app, and it’s awesome how I can share pieces of information and documents electronically with any provider I want. Total time saver!”
To get a quick tour of the Undivided app and binder, check out this video on our YouTube page.
3. Should your child be on the Medi-Cal waiver?
4. Don’t think Medi-Cal can benefit your family? Think again!
For many families of children with extra support needs, it can be overwhelming to enroll in public benefits like Medi-Cal. There are too many steps, too many forms! If you already have primary health insurance, do you really need Medi-Cal too?
We think it's worth it! We have seen Medi-Cal fund DME and incontinence supplies to save families a ton. Plus, Medi-Cal as secondary insurance can help cover co-pays that you would otherwise pay out of pocket.
If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed, the great news is Undivided will break various programs down for you in a digestible way with a step-by-step guide. Your Navigator can hold you as accountable as you want to, so you’ll be able to complete the process in the most efficient way possible.
5. IHSS can provide up to $60,000 a year for some families — are you missing out?
The Undivided app has a step-by-step guide for you to follow and get all the information you need to apply. We also have a Public Benefits Specialist on staff for members to consult with if they get denied and need to appeal the decision.
6. Are you paying for medical supplies out of pocket?
Regional Center or Medi-Cal might pay for diapers?! Yes! Most parents don’t know that specialized supplies prescribed by a doctor can be covered by public benefits as a payer of last resort — not only diapers but also incontinence supplies like mattress protectors, g-tube supplies, GPS devices for elopers, and much more.
The Undivided app has separate guides for you to go through depending on whether you’re using Regional Center or Medi-Cal funding for supplies.
7. Not getting enough support from Regional Center? Self-Determination may be the answer.
8. You don't have to IEP alone!
As parents, we know we have rights to advocate for our children’s education, but it’s easy to feel intimidated by the professionals. Some parents do not feel confident in how to approach teachers and administrators without being adversarial. But remember: you are legally a member of the IEP team, and every decision must include you!
At Undivided, we have many guides that will walk you through how to prepare for your IEP, how to request a 1:1 aide, how to make sure your child's IEP is being followed, and so much more. Every Navigator’s goal is to help parents become confident advocates for their children! If you need a little extra support, we have an Education Advocate on staff. We also have a list of education attorneys we can recommend if legal help is needed.
9. Get help tackling that stack of insurance paperwork.
If your child’s physician recommends a therapy, you may have no idea whether your health plan covers it. And how does your plan work with Medi-Cal as secondary insurance? Benefits are already tricky, and when your child has a disability and/or health issues, it can be overwhelming to understand the coverage for your child's therapies — not to mention the appeal process for a denied claim!
Undivided’s Director of Health Plan Advocacy is available for members to hire. She will not only help you understand your coverage and provide advice, but she can also do an audit of your past claims and even submit them for you!
10. Does planning for your child’s future keep you up at night? It doesn't have to.
Parents don’t want to worry about what will happen to their children in unforeseen circumstances. Maybe you have heard of a special needs trust, ABLE account, or conservatorship, but you don’t know if it’s something that you should set up for your child.
It's so reassuring to have peace of mind that your child’s needs will be taken care of! Check out our future and financial planning articles that will explain all of these topics with easy-to-understand examples and insights from professionals in the field. Undivided members also benefit from a list of attorneys who come highly recommended from families in our community.
The most important thing to remember as a parent is that you don’t have to do this alone. Undivided is here with expert-backed resources, 1:1 coaching, and a supportive community to help you with whatever you need.
If you don’t have an Undivided account already, get started here!