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  • Writer's pictureSparkle Allen Hoston

Challenges with Medi-Cal and SSI

Updated: May 1

Dedicated to my sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and Micah's Voice. Thank you!

Previous series post: "Speech Therapy

I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown when I learned that DJ’s Medi-Cal application was denied- I was certain that it would be approved right away and that it would help to cover the cost for services. When I asked the Medi-Cal representative to explain how this could happen, she shared that identity theft was on the rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and that many people were experiencing the same issue. The representative suggested that I contact the Employment Development Department (EDD) to submit a fraud claim. I tried reaching EDD by phone for weeks after that but had a difficult time getting through.

While working to contact EDD, I started the application process for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Several steps were required to apply including an online application and an interview over the phone. DJ also had to be seen by a professional to confirm his diagnosis and challenges with his speech. A few weeks later, the application for SSI was denied as a result of our household income, which was hardly enough for us to get by. By this time I started to feel really confused and defeated. I decided to place my energy elsewhere and began working to get my son into applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy.

I was unsure about ABA therapy in the beginning- I read some negative things about it on the internet and was worried about how DJ would take to it. Nonetheless, DJ’s doctor and others suggested that I give it a try and so I did. At the time, DJ’s medical needs were covered under a high-deductible medical plan through my husband's job. With this, De'Unte Sr. and I were responsible for paying a portion of the cost for autism services. We were unable to pay for the full amount of time needed for DJ to take part in ABA therapy, so DJ had therapy a few times a month for roughly two hours. Eventually, De'Unte Sr. and I received a bill for over $1,000. We'd also received a bill for DJ’s diagnosis in the amount of $2,500. We couldn’t afford to pay both bills, but I was able to make payment arrangements to tackle the $2,500. A short time later, a financial assistance opportunity for families impacted by autism came about through my sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and Micah’s Voice. I applied on behalf of DJ and was awarded the appropriate amount to cover the remaining balance for his diagnosis and ABA therapy. My son also became the very first recipient in the Pacific Region.

Share Your Thoughts and Experiences in the Comments Section Below!

Have you experienced any financial challenges relating to autism? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?


About the Writer

Sparkle Allen Hoston is an autism advocate, content creator, and stay-at-home mother from Oakland, CA.

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