Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

When your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy or another birth injury due to a physician’s malpractice, there are a number of governmental programs for your aid. All children with birth injuries are entitled to educational benefits through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Some children with birth injuries are entitled to lifetime benefits through social security, and some apply for social security insurance. Another governmental program available to children with birth injuries and to needy families is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was formerly referred to as the Food Stamps Program. Operated under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the department oversees that needy children and families have an adequate amount of food.

SNAP applies to all children and families who are considered low-income; being disabled is not a qualification, nor is not having a disability or birth injury a disqualification.

What are the Benefits of SNAP?

SNAP wants to make sure all low-income children get the nutrition that their bodies need, so there are two focuses of their program.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (USDA), SNAP can:

  • Offer education and guidance with food purchases
  • Allow low-income families a means to have healthy meals
  • Help qualifying Americans stay out of poverty
  • Help not only children with disabilities, but also disabled adults and senior citizens
  • Generate local economic activities
  • Free up cash for other important care needs for disabled children

Why is Specific Nutrition Important?

Many children with disorders such cerebral palsy and other medical conditions may suffer complications related to their disability if they don’t eat food that is carefully tailored to their needs. Unfortunately, providing a healthy, adequate diet can get quite costly.

For example, many children with cerebral have a difficult time eating the right amount of food and digesting certain products due to difficulties with chewing and swallowing. It’s important for the children to have access to vitamin-enriched foods such as green leafy vegetables and fruits.

Who Should You Ask About Your Child’s Nutrition?

SNAP offers nutritional guidance to needy families. For specific information, refer to your state’s guidelines. In addition, a dietitian who specializes in diets for special needs children and/or your pediatrician may be able to help you plan out healthy meals and snacks.

How Does SNAP Work?

Every state has different requirements in terms of threshold of income and other measures of eligibility. Most states deliver benefits through easy-to-use debit cards that are mailed to the household. Some states issue coupons that detail specific products that can be used for the program.

How Do You Apply for SNAP?

If you’re looking to apply for SNAP, you need to go to the USDA website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/apply. Once there, you will click on the state where you live and follow the steps as you are prompted. It can take up to 30 days to get benefits, so if you need benefits before 30 days, be sure to fill out the form for emergency benefits.