The financial burden that a family or an individual with cerebral palsy must shoulder is often too much to bear without various help. For the adult with cerebral palsy, this may come in the form of family assistance, insurance coverage, Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or any combination of those. Often times there are special organization established to help subsidize the cost of various services and goods a person with cerebral palsy may need. An organization may help pay for the costs of a wheelchair, or provide a seeing eye dog free to someone who needs it.

A good health insurance plan can be extremely helpful to those with cerebral palsy. Fortunately for children with cerebral palsy whose parents have a good family health insurance policy, the insurance company will pay for many of the procedures and services the child will require. Unfortunately for the adult with cerebral palsy who is trying to get their own coverage, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to get an insurance company to help with cerebral palsy bills. This is because they will consider the cerebral palsy and any complications arising from it as a "pre-existing condition".

This leaves adults with cerebral palsy only a few options for getting financial assistance. Two of these options are Medicaid and Medicare. These two programs can help reduce the out of pocket expenses for those with cerebral palsy.

Medicaid is a program which is managed by the states, though it is funded by both the states and federal government. It's goal is to provide individuals with health insurance. Not everybody is elligible for Medicaid. It is primarily for individuals or families with low incomes and limited resources. For those with low income, Medicaid is by far the most utilized source of funding for medical services. People with disabilities, including cerebral palsy, are also eligible for Medicaid. Since Medicaid is a state run program, eligibility may vary from state to state, and the amount or types of services covered by Medicaid can also vary from state to state. Medicaid can be extremely helpful to those with cerebral palsy because it can cover a broad range of health services, including not only doctor and hospital visits but also physical therapy and other specialized care. Because of it's broad coverage and the fact that no co-pay or deductible is required, Medicaid health care can take up to a quarter of a state's total budget.

Medicaid should not be confused with Medicare. Medicare is a federally managed program, not state run. Medicare is usually only available to people over the age of 65, or younger people with disabilities (such as cerebral palsy). Medicare does not cover as broad a range of health services, and also requires that the patient pay a deductible or a co-pay for their treatment. If frequent trips to the doctor are necessary due to one's cerebral palsy, these co-pays can take quite a bite out of one's wallet. People with cerebral palsy can be enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid at the same time, and in fact many utilize both programs to help meet their needs.

If somebody's income is low enough, they may become elligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) even if they never worked in the past and so couldn't pay into social security. There is no guarantee that social security will grant you this aid, but it does not hurt to apply for it. If a person's parents are drawing social security benefits the child or young adult can be elligible for a type of SSI called "disabled adult child benefits". This type of benefit covers a person who became disabled before the age of 22 whose parents are drawing on social security. Since cerebral palsy occurs before, during, or shortly after birth, it easily fits that criteria.


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