Tuesday night, I went to a class for parents at the Council on Mental Retardation. They have offered a series of classes for the past few months. The first class was called Understanding Social Security Benefits. The name of the class was a bit misleading. Most of the information was for parents of adult children who were trying to find jobs. Based on the title of the class, job hunting was NOT what we were expecting. Sometimes we wish Emily could help with the laundry, but we aren't trying to get her into the work force quite yet.
The second class was called State/Federally Funded Resources. This was more applicable to our situation. I learned about various state funded programs and their qualificatons. The main focus of the class was waiver programs (a waiver program allows a specific group of people to receive Medicaid funded services in their community). We are very thankful for these programs. Emily is in a waiver program - she receives medical coverage, respite care, WIC (to cover her formula) and other services as part of this program. The medical coverage is wonderful and having her formula covered saves us $500+ every six weeks. Did I mention we are THANKFUL for the waiver program?
This week's class was called Future Financial Security for Your Child with Disabilities. It was very informative. Did you know that we cannot leave money to Emily in our will? I realize that we don't really HAVE any money to leave her, but bear with me on this... When Emily is an adult and we are not around, she will need to depend on state and federal programs to meet her needs - she will most likely qualify for things like SSI, Medicaid, etc. These programs have very strict guidelines. If we name Emily as a beneficiary on our life insurance, for example, that would disqualify her for the state/federal programs that she will need. So instead, we will need to set up a Trust in Emily's name and the trust would be the the beneficiary of our insurance.
There are a lot more details that I could tell you, but I just wanted to hit some highlights. There is one more class at the Council next month and I am also attending a Cerebral Palsy conference tomorrow. So I will be sharing some more of that info too. My hope is to do a series of DYK (Did you know?) posts. As we learn some things we would like to share them with you. We hope to be able to use this blog to spread awareness about CP. So, if there is anything that you would like to know about CP in general or about Emily specifically, please leave a comment and I will try to cover it.
We are learning as Emily gets older that we really need to know a LOT of stuff to keep on top of her needs. That can be overwhelming at times, but I am thankful for opportunities like these that have come our way.