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I'm in NC, as well. My son was awarded regular subsidy at the time of his adoption (in 2008.) and then vendor payments about six months ago. They've definitely limited what you can use them for. I'm thinking of using his for either a tutoring program (if he needs it this year) or to pay for a specialized after school program (with a smaller group than usual.) I'm really lucky. All the doctors and therapists that I've wanted to use accept Medicaid so I don't need to use vendor payments for any of that. My son's older sister (adopted by a different family) uses hers to pay for a special after school program (in another state since they've moved.)

Did they give you the written information about what it could be used for? I was really hoping to get a computer for him to use along with some appropriate software, but that's no longer on the approved list. I tried to find the information online (I've seen it on the DHS website before) but I can't. I've got a paper copy somewhere.

Basically, I was given the written guidelines and a set of sticky labels. I don't need preapproval for things that meet the guidelines. I just need to get the therapist/tutor/etc to write a bill, attach a stickly label, and then submit it to the county.

My soon-to-be-adopted daughter won't qualify for now, but if it's needed later, we can have the agreement amended.

What issues have you been having? What county are you in?
 

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From what I've been told, a lot depends on what qualified your child for the vendor payments in the first place. My DS and his older sister's is pretty broad so a lot qualifies. But, the rules are much more strict now. There was a lot of things that were approved before which really shouldn't have been.
 

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It's a supplemental payment that some children are eligible for. It helps to pay for medical and therapeutic needs and it is separate from the monthly post-adoption subsidy. Some children are eligible at the time of their adoption, but for others (like mine) it can be applied for at a later point in time.

"Vendor payments provide assistance for services or treatment for handicapping conditions which existed prior to the time of the child's placement for adoption. It is not necessary for these conditions to have been identified prior to the placement, but rather to have existed....

Vendor payments may be provided up to a maximum of $2400 per year for any combination of medical and/or non-medical services or treatment not covered by any medical insurance program...

Non-medical services include any services that help to alleviate a condition that existed prior to the adoptive placement. Based on the individual needs of a child, non-medical may include psychological, therapeutic, or any other service that remedies a condition that is a result of a condition that existed prior to the adoptive placement....

Examples include, but are not limited to:

- tutorial services for documented educational delays and remedial needs.

- tuition to facility providing remedial and/or supportive educational services

- child care facility to meet child's documented developmental needs

- orthopedic appliances (braces, special shoes, etc.,) orthodonic appliances (braces, retainers, etc.)

- Repair of broken glasses, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, hearing aids, computers and other learning aids

- Respite care

- Specialized clothing or equipment

Examples of Non-Approved Services:

- Toys

- Clothes

- Computers

- Video games

- Child Care (unless a specialized program is needed)

- After school care (unless a specialized program is needed)

- Summer camp

- Recreational and extra curricular activities/lessons"

I'll probably use some of my son's next summer. His occupational therapy office offers mini camps that combine camp activities (depending on theme) with occupational therapy goals. Because of his IEP for ADHD and Developmental Delays, he would qualify to use some of his vendor funds for those types of programs.
 

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Yep, at the end of the year people were encouraged to buy computers and stuff like that to use up the annual amount. That was before I finalized my first adoption.

If Chris gets accepted to a private school for next year, I think DSS will approve vendor payments for that. Smaller classes, different style of teaching, etc. But, his vendor payments were granted because of the stuff in his IEP.

DD might get approved now that she needs glasses. But, they don't pay for glasses so I'm not sure that we'd ever be able to use it.
 

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Honestly, although the vendor payments are a nice thing to have (my DS quallifies, my DD doesn't,) it's not the end of the world if they go away. The proposed cuts to Smart Start, More at Four, and the public schools bother me WAY more. However, you may want to contact the NC Foster and Adoptive Parents Association, if you haven't already. I think the web address is www.ncfapa.org.
 

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Eliminating Vendor Payments really isn't that big of a deal since the funds are pretty hard to access and so many medical and therapeutic services are already covered by Medicaid. I do hope that tutoring services continue to be an allowable service for chose children already authorized for Vendor Payments.

I need to read the document more closely when the kids go to school. It looks like post-adoption subsidy isn't being eliminated but that the eligibility is being tightened and federal and local AAP will still be available.
 
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