Frequently Asked Questions

What is the approval criteria for a scholarship?

First step is to fill out an online application. Once we receive your application, we will review it to determine how much respite care you can receive. This is determined by several factors, including, but not limited to, your needs and specific situation, your ability to pay for respite on your own, any funding you might already have - or have applied for - and current funding available from Special Needs Respite. The narrative portion of the application is especially important in helping us determine your scholarship. If you don't need a scholarship, our partner, YourRespite, does special needs childcare if you are self-pay or have the NOW/COMP waiver, or other funding.

Once I am approved, who provides my caregiver?

Special Needs Respite itself provides funding. However, it has relationships with caregivers through YourRespite, a company that has been providing respite for families with special needs children in the metro Atlanta area since 2008. If you have been using a caregiver, or want to find your own, Special Needs Respite will reimburse them directly for their services to you.

If I have my own caregiver, can I use them, or do I have to use Your Respite?

You may certainly use your own caregiver as long as they have a clean background check and are certified in first aid and CPR. In fact, because your child might be familiar and comfortable with a caregiver, we encourage you to continue to use whoever works best with your child.

If I don't have a caregiver already, where can I find one?

You have several options! Special Needs Respite has a close relationship with respite care provider YourRespite and so please contact them.

How does my caregiver get paid?

The caregiver, or the caregiver's agent, needs to invoice Special Needs Respite with the date and hours of care, along with the amount that Special Needs Respite is responsible for. For convenience, your caregiver can submit an invoice to Special Needs Respite online.

What kind of scholarship will I receive - that is, how much money?

Currently, the scholarship is, on average, $400. This money can then be used to pay caregivers however you choose - all at once, or several shorter breaks. The funds are available for 4 months, after which any unused funds are no longer available. You can re-apply for another scholarship up to four times a year (awards are awarded on the 1st of the month).

How often do I need to I apply for, or receive a scholarship?

The funds from a scholarship are available for 4 months, after which any unused funds are no longer available. You can re-apply for another scholarship up to four times a year (awards are awarded on the 1st of the month).

Do I have to be below a certain income level to apply or receive a scholarship?

Typically not - often families have more than enough income, but their circumstances as parents of special needs children can sap that income, putting stress on them financially. However, if you are able to afford more out-of-pocket, that can help other families with more financial need.

Can I get a scholarship even if my child is over 18?

Currently, Special Needs Respite only provides scholarships for care for children under 18 years of age. If your child is 18 or over, other state programs become available, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the Social Security Administration.

Why might I be asked to pay for some of my respite care? Why doesn't Special Needs Respite cover the entire cost?

Typically we ask that the parents pay some co-pay amount for their respite care so that they can appreciate the value of the service that Special Needs Respite provides. Also this allows the parents to hire a caregiver who might demand a higher rate of pay than Special Needs Respite is able to cover. However, a good percentage of the cost of care will be provided by a Special Needs Respite scholarship.

If I already have a funding source (such as NOW waiver), can I still receive a scholarship from Special Needs Respite to get even more respite care?

If you do have funds from other programs, rather than apply for a scholarship, please head over to YourRespite, which can provide care under the banner of such programs. Typically, if you already receive funding for respite care through other programs, Special Needs Respite's funds would likely be more valuable to those who do not have such a funding source. However, each case is different, so in your application, please note your circumstances and why you would still need additional sources of funding for care. Special Needs Respite strongly urges parents to apply for funds from these other sources, even if they get put on a waiting list. In fact, applying for such programs will be helpful in getting approved for a scholarship.