When life gives you "lemons" make lemonade. Did you pick up on my quotation marks around lemons? I did that because what may start as a perceived lemon actually is already lemonade, it just takes us a while to see it. This is certainly the case with special needs children. I myself do not have a special needs child but I was blessed with one joining my life when my father remarried. It is a scary world with so much unknown. I have discovered that it is within the unknown that life is truly experienced and enjoyed. My step-sister has taught me so many lessons throughout the years. She forced me to view the world differently and discover a different kind of beauty. To obtain this beauty one has to go through unique challenges. Often times caring for a special needs child is a full-time job. This can be very hard for any family, especially a single mother. Your Social Security Benefits might be able to help. The child may even be eligible for Social Security Income among other benefits.
Step 1: Do a little research on the subject. A special needs child can fall under a couple different headings within the Social Security System. The following are a couple terms used Special Situations and Disabled Child. They can also be termed as an Eligible Child which can help a non-working spouse receive spousal benefits at any age (the working spouse must be currently receiving retirement benefits though). Read through the information to get an understanding. Make sure to also read through the Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI) For Children. Also, here is an article by PBS that has a brief overview on the subject. Please do not skip the research step thinking it will save time. It won't. Knowledge is power and a basic understanding will allow you to ask the right questions pertaining to your specific situation.
Step 2: Reach out to your local Social Security Office. By reaching out and asking them questions, they will be able to help you fill in the gaps of what you do not yet know. They are also there to help guide you through the application process. Do not feel like a burden to them. They are paid by your tax dollars to be there for you.
Step 3: Be patient and do not give up. The process can take a while. Five months waiting for an application to go through is not uncommon. I cannot stress enough how important this step is. Here is a quote to help with some motivation: "A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence".
Keep drinking life's lemonade. If you need help, we are here.