Ask Mike - Can I get paid to look after my son who has speech and language problems
I have a 4 year old son that has speech and language problems. Someone told me I can get paid for taking care of him. I am not working right now and I do really need that money for his own needs. I am in Los Angeles CA.
Dear LA Mom,
Thanks for getting in touch with me. You wrote that your son is four years old, has speech / language "problems" and that you were told that you could be paid for "taking care of him". You also shared that you are out of work and could really use the money.
I sympathize with your predicament, but I am not aware of any program or funding stream that would pay you to take care of your son just because he has speech and language impairments. While your son may need (or be receiving) speech/language therapies, this need doesn't qualify him for personal assistance services (PAS), per se. All four year olds need looking after and PAS is very different from just generically taking care of a young child. Personal assistance services are services that assist individuals with disabilities with activities that, in the absence of a disability, the individuals would typically perform themselves such as personal activities as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring to and from a wheelchair , as well as other activities such as paying bills, getting around town, budgeting, cooking, cleaning, remembering to do things and so on.
Publicly funded personal assistance services are most commonly provided via Medicaid HCBS Waivers. HCBS Waiver services are provided to individuals as an alternative to institutional or nursing facility placement. To qualify for this kind of assistance, an individual would have to have a significant disability; unfortunately for you and your child, more significant than speech/language impairment. You also need to understand that these programs are meant to provide assistance to people with disabilities, not to provide financial assistance or employment for hard working family members, per se.
Even though the Personal Assistance Center website and its "Ask Mike" column is limited to providing information about personal assistance services and related programs and research, it sounds like you might qualify for financial assistance from another federal Medicaid program called Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF). I am not much of an expert at all on this program, but I believe it provides some cash and food stamp assistance, as well as other benefits. You may want to check it out. The PAS Center website can assist you with contact information for your state’s Medicaid agency, the agency that oversees the TANF program. Moreover, if you believe your son has a disability and needs personal assistance then you can use this same contact information to ask about assistance for him. However, you should know that even if he qualifies for personal assistance services from a Medicaid program, you may or may not be able to be the paid provider of the services he receives. Rules vary from state to state and depending upon the services he ultimately receives. Again, to find out more about any of this, contact the California state Medicaid agency.
Go to our Agencies Related to PAS page. Next, a map of the USA will come up. Click on "California" and then click on "Medicaid Agency". This will provide you with contact information to ask about programs that may assist you. There is also a link to the Medicaid agency's website. Their homepage is not very informative so I followed a few links and chased down a better web address to use to find out more about jobs, cash assistance and food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Go to www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/PG181.htm.
Good luck. I hope things work out for you and your son.