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How to Get Financial Help for Your Child with Autism

As a parent raising a child with autism, you can often make sacrifices to support your child and make sure she lives a joyful and productive life. Sometimes it means that you have to pay a lot of money to improve your child’s quality of life with doctor visits and therapy. If you are struggling to pay the bills, you can apply for disability benefits to help you with the medical and living costs that can add up quickly.


In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is a California program provided by the government that offers financial support for in-home caretakers of children with developmental disabilities. While a variety of benefits are available, the most important for families of children with special needs is “Protective Supervision.” This makes sure that you, as your child’s caretaker, can give the best supervision and care for your child in the comfort of your own home. This means that you can receive an hourly wage to take care of your child.

However, these benefits are not easy to get and the process to apply is long and complex.

How to Prepare

In order to show that your child is eligible for Protective Supervision and IHSS, you need extensive paperwork proving that your child with autism is at risk of injury if left unsupervised at any time during a twenty-four-hour day. This documentation must give clear examples of things your child will do things to hurt him or herself or that he or she is in harm’s way if left alone.

Here is a list of the documentation you will need to provide when applying for IHSS:

A list of injuries

The best way to show that you need Protective Supervision and IHSS is by creating a list that details every accident or injury your child has had. You should also describe every action your child has taken that might cause injury, or has put your child at risk of injury or harm, and how often it happens.

Letters from third parties

Acquire a letter from your regional center, a day program or a school program regarding your child’s need for care. The letter should contain detailed information about your child with autism, including his limitations, risk of injury, and the behaviors that cause him to have to be monitored all day.

Medical documentation

Get an “Assessment of Need for Protective Supervision for In-Home Supportive Services Program” (SOC 821) form completed by your child’s doctor. Keep a copy of the form for your records. The county will use this form to collect information and make a determination about the need for Protective Supervision.

Additional doctor’s letter

Get a doctor’s letter documenting your child’s disability, functioning level, age, and describe how the disability causes poor judgment, confusion, poor memory, or disorientation.

Other forms

A “PROTECTIVE SUPERVISION 24-HOURS-A-DAY COVERAGE PLAN” (SOC 825) form and fill it out entirely

The Application Process

Successfully receiving disability benefits for autism can be accomplished by accurately completing the IHSS application process. These benefits can be helpful when it comes to paying for therapy and other treatments, or simply affording daily expenses that become difficult when families are unable to work.

The key is to make sure you have as much information as possible that shows how your case matches the IHSS requirements. Remember that the application process can be very lengthy, and you may need to seek the help of a disability advocate to present your case.

During the IHSS application process, you will undergo a home interview, which includes a visit from a social worker who will assess the capabilities of your child.

During the interview with the county representative, it is important that you have every piece of documented evidence of why your child needs IHSS. Your child’s IEP should also be present, as well as any documents from his doctor or other healthcare providers. Also, ABA goals to stop wandering such as the Stop/Go activity can also be helpful in your case. It is beneficial to keep a Dangerous Behavior Log to share with the social worker. Once the case is approved, you will get a Notice of Action, which breaks down all the hours of total need for which most come from Protective Supervision.

If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.

American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.

Contact us for help. Dial (877) 283-4807 or email us at [email protected]