A Parent’s Guide to Applying for Grants for Children with Disabilities

March 31st, 2022 by

A child in a classroom setting sits in a wheelchair

Becoming a parent is an adventure for anyone, and there is no single rulebook for raising children. This rings true for raising children with disabilities as well, and it’s often a “one step at a time” journey for everyone. Raising a child living with a disability can be difficult, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. 

Financial stress is one of the greatest challenges families face with regards to caring for a disabled child. Specialized equipment, medical bills, support services, and medication are expensive — and the costs add up quickly. When you consider that 28 percent of U.S. children with disabilities live below the federal poverty threshold, this matter becomes even more concerning.

This is why grants for children with disabilities exist, and why it’s so important for families to familiarize themselves with the financial resources available to them. Every dollar counts when you are caring for a loved one who needs your support.

Today we’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about financial assistance for parents with disabled children. We encourage you to take advantage of all potential avenues so that you can provide the best possible care to your child.

Is There Financial Assistance Available for Children With Disabilities?

Yes, there are many forms of financial aid available for children living with a wide range of disabilities. Whether you need help paying for medical equipment or paying off medical bills, there’s a grant out there for you. Below are some notable loans and grants that families can apply for:

Medical Equipment Grants for Children With Mobility Impairments

If you have a child with a mobility impairment, you know how hard it is to watch them struggle with everyday activities or a desire for independence. These grants are specifically available to children requiring mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, and more so that they can have access to more. 

Formerly known as the First Hand Foundation, Cerner has 25 years of experience providing access to healthcare for families by offering individual medical grants and health and wellness programming. These medical grants are available for children who require medical equipment or vehicle modifications. Examples of covered expenses include wheelchairs and other assistive technology equipment like lifts and ramps, as well as travel and lodging expenses for healthcare-specific trips. You may read more about covered expenses and the application process here

Applications are accepted from the United States and through select international providers. Requirements include: 

  • The child must be 18 or younger (exceptions apply)
  • The child must be currently working with a physician
  • The application must be relevant to the child’s healthcare needs
  • There should be no existing insurance coverage
  • Only one request may be submitted per 12 months, per child
  • The Giving Angels Foundation

Whether you need assistance with life-changing equipment, medical supplies, or essential family bills, The Giving Angels Foundation can help you meet your financial goals. Their goal is to provide financial assistance to children with physical disabilities and illnesses in low-income communities. This mission means that in order to qualify for this program, you must have a $50,000 maximum annual income for your household.  

Grants are given on a case-by-case basis. They accept applications from any child under the age of 21 (or their parents) and provide a $500 maximum one-time grant allowance per recipient family.

The Disabled Children’s Relief Fund (DCRF) offers grants to children who require wheelchairs, orthopedic braces, walkers, lifts, hearing aids, and a wide range of other medical aids. They also have a specific focus on helping children throughout the U.S. that do not have adequate health insurance. Their passion for this mission is one of the reasons they’re certified by America’s Best Charities

This nonprofit organization provides funds to the families of children with disabilities, specifically for the purpose of supplies and equipment. They have three programs available. The first is Let’s Roll, which helps families acquire medical equipment and to pay for any necessary vehicle modifications. Another great program is the Facilities and Equipment program, which involves donations of gently used equipment to facilities in order to help as many children living with disabilities as possible. Lastly, Wheely Fun Days is aimed at building a community and helping children with disabilities build relationships with others, as well as gain confidence in themselves.  

This passionate organization is able to provide this help through grants, community partnerships, and donations.  

The Wheel to Walk Foundation offers grants for disabled children below the age of 20 who live in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or California. Their mission is to help children obtain the medical and adaptive equipment or therapy services not provided by insurance, including adaptive car seats, wheelchairs, zip zac chairs, bathing chairs, and more. Families may request an application through their website. 

A child sits in their wheelchair

Therapy Grants for Children With Disabilities

An important part of raising a child with a disability is giving them access to all of the resources they need. In addition to providing them with the necessary medical treatment and equipment, providing support in the form of therapy is crucial for a child’s development. However, support services like training and individual or group therapy can be expensive. Luckily, there are financial support options available. 

These grants primarily focus on therapy, support, and other resources to help your child cope with their disability.  

The Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) is committed to helping families by providing information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities. FCSN is a nonprofit organization that provides special needs funding for individual assistance, training, and specialized programming for children with disabilities, those at risk, and those with economic, cultural or linguistic barriers. Families can fill out an online intake form to get in contact with the FCSN.

The Orange Effect Foundation provides funding for parents raising a child with a speech disorder. Children and young adults up to age 21 who live in the United States are eligible to receive a grant, which can be used for speech therapy or for digital speech therapy tools. Note: if you’re considering applying for a grant from the Orange Effect Foundation, make sure to abide by their four deadlines throughout the year and remember to factor in the time it will take to send the application by mail. 

This is a charitable organization founded by Chanda Hinton who experienced living with a disability at a young age. In her experience, she learned that access to integrative therapies can help people living with long-term disabilities. This progressive organization promotes wellness and healing through therapeutic movement and delivers integrative therapy, primary care and other complementary services. The goal of these offerings is to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs for those living with physical disabilities. These therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, dental care, spinal cord injury and brain injury rehabilitation, and more.

The Kiddos Clubhouse Foundation provides financial help for parents with a disabled child so they can access critical therapies, including physical therapy, speech therapy, and developmental assessments. Funding is possible through ​​partnerships, donors, grants, and charitable events. This organization also has multiple deadlines through the year so be mindful when going through the application process. 

The Family Hope Foundation provides support for families by providing financial assistance and their flagship Therapy Scholarship Program, helping children with special needs get access to therapy with limited or no insurance coverage. Note: Applicants must live in West Michigan.

A child in a wheelchair greets two children running toward her

Tips for Parents Applying For Grants For Disabled Children

If you are seeking grants for parents with disabled children, there are some steps you can take to improve your likelihood of receiving funding. 

Below are our top recommendations for families applying for disabled children funds:

  • Always read through application requirements twice to be sure you haven’t overlooked any pertinent information. Many families are declined loans for parents with a disabled child because their application was incomplete or failed to meet the organization’s eligibility criteria.
  • Gather as much information as possible from your child’s healthcare providers. The more detailed and accurate your application is, the more likely it is you will be approved for funding. This will also ensure you receive the exact support you require, rather than medical equipment or therapies that aren’t applicable to your situation.
  • Be sure to note the application deadlines for any grants you are interested in. Thousands of dollars in grants for special needs programs remain undistributed each year due to deadline cutoffs. 
  • Apply to as many funders as possible — even if it’s for the same healthcare needs! This will dramatically increase your chances of receiving the financial assistance your family needs, and could even result in additional resources that would greatly benefit your loved one’s quality of life.
  • Send thank you notes and photos of your family to the organizations you receive grants from. Nonprofit workers give so much of themselves to their work. Being reminded of the difference they make truly brightens their day!

At Freedom Motors, our rear-entry vehicles are designed to be more versatile and to provide an unprecedented level of accessibility. Ask us how our wheelchair accessible vehicles can improve quality of life for you or your loved one.

We have worked with many nonprofit organizations who offer grants for children with disabilities and we would be happy to provide you with more information. Let’s discuss your options today!