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Financial help for parents of kids with LD and AD/HD

Raising a child with a learning disability can be expensive. Learn about resources that might help defray some of the costs.

By Diana Moore, M.L.S.

"I never knew having a kid with a learning disability would be so expensive!"

Sooner or later, every parent at least thinks this. While many schools offer services to students with a learning disability (LD), most kids need outside help at some point in their lives — be it assessment, tutoring, schooling, coaching or therapy. Most services for kids with LD aren't covered by traditional health insurance, and there's little financial aid available for education before college.

There are some programs available to make a small dent in expenses, if you're willing to take the time to plan and follow through with the paperwork. Consider the following options:

Health insurance coverage

Many health insurance policies do cover assessment and psychological assessment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) and treatment. Each insurer is different, and coverage can vary even among policy types. To be certain, call your insurance carrier to clarify.

If your child isn't insured, check out Insure Kids Now, which is subsidized by the federal and state governments. Eligibility, coverage and details are listed by state.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is a government program that pays benefits to disabled children who come from low-income families. SSI eligibility is determined by your local Social Security Office and a state Disability Determination Service.

Social security disability standards are very strict; the law says that in order to qualify for benefits, your child must have a mental or physical condition that results in "marked and severe functional limitations" for at least a year. Kids who qualify are not only entitled to money but also to government-funded health care. However, kids with LD alone generally are not found eligible.

For more information on eligibility for SSI, check these resources:

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

03/17/2010:
"I am in need of finding out what can be done to help families with a child that is mental retarted and can't do anthing for themselves.. people are saying our income it to big or any help.. please addvise what I can do.."
02/5/2010:
"hi i have a child with seizure disorder,low muscle tone,and developmentally delayed. he cannot read and the public schools are just pushing him through with no help like after school tutoring he needs help bad. i wish i could afford sylvan or some kind of tutoring for him and i wish i could find a pecific school.he is a loving kind child . pleae help if you can i live in lake county where they just pass them without caring."
05/20/2009:
"I know that learning is important, But what about the school systems not wanting a child to play sports because all they care about is winning."
04/2/2009:
"The information in this article's links have income requirements from 2002. Is there anything more up to date? We qualify for reduced lunches. Our son has ADHD and recieves many services through school, but I would be interested in what may be available from SSI."
02/18/2009:
"Do you know where I can get assistance in financing a child who may need to attain help with an out of state long term treatment center for behavior problems? I don't know if there is such a thing as a sponsorship program or something like that to sponsor a child who needs more help than what is being or has been offered. Hawaii does NOT have a long term treatment center for kids like my son and I found a place called The Academy which has a campus at the Fiji Islands. The cost is $ 3,900 with a $ 1,000 grant leaving a monthly cost of $ 2,900 per child - an amount our family cannot afford. Can you help me? Mahalo"
02/11/2009:
"My granddaughter has AD/HD and OCD. I wonder what kind of help is out there for her."
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