Saturday, June 20, 2009

Government Resources

Some Things You Should Know:

1. Federal, State, County: There are Federal Resources which are administered by your state. Each state administers these resources a little differently so what works in one state does not necessarily work in another. There are also state-specific resources (sometimes administered by your local county) and there are county resources. All these resources overlap here and there.

2. You Must Apply for Programs in the Proper Order: Generally speaking, you need to apply for the hardest programs to qualify for first. These are the programs that serve the neediest people in our society. If you are denied services, you will move on to the next-hardest program to qualify for and so on. The reason you must apply in the proper order is that some of the easier programs to qualify for will not consider your application until you can provide an official denial letter from one or more of the harder programs to qualify for.

3. Official Determinations are KEY: Because one program may require that you apply for another first, you must make sure that you get an official determination IN WRITING from each program you apply for. For example, if your SSI case worker verbally tells you that you do not qualify, GET AN OFFICIAL FINDING IN WRITING and add it to your documents folder - believe me, you will need it!

4. One Program at a Time: As a general rule, do not apply for more than one program at a time. Oftentimes, if you qualify for one hard-to-get program, you automatically receive other programs with it. There is no point in applying for programs individually that you will automatically qualify for. The paperwork load will become unmanageable and you will inevitibly find yourself in a catch-22 requiring an official denial from one program before you can continue on with the next.

5. Stay on Top of Things: Applying for some of these programs is the paperwork equivalent of childbirth. It is painful but it is worth it. Many of these programs have deadlines that you must meet or else your application is denied and you have to start over. When you get mail from these programs, open their letters first and try and get your response in the mail the same day. If you will do this, the turn-around on processing will be greatly abbreviated and you will start receiving your benefits sooner.

In Oregon: Oregon has a web site that will ask for some basic info and tell you if you might qualify for 33 different programs. The link is

Step 1: Get a documents folder going

Step 2: Apply for WIC

Step 3: Get a Disabled Parking Placard

Step 4: Apply for Early Childhood Intervention Services

Step 5: Apply for SSI Childhood Disability Benefits

Step 6. Apply for Medicaid

Step 7: Apply for HIPP

Step 8: Apply for SCHIP

Step 9: Apply for CCS (California Only)

Step 10: Apply for other State and County Resources

Step 11: Consider Shriners

Step 12: Consider your local Scottish Rite Center

Step 13: Once Your Child Turns Two, Begin to Prepare for Your First IEP Meeting

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