Grants for the disabled are available from both private and government funders. For the most part, disability grants will pay for training, equipment or modifications such as widening doors in bathrooms. Proof of the disability is always a prerequisite, and may include physician evaluations, proof of Social Security disability certification, and assessment of the impact of the disability on daily life.
Federal grants to aid the disabled are primarily in the form of block grants to states, although private foundations may also qualify under some guidelines. One example provides funding for the disabled through the US Labor Department’s Disability Employment Initiative. In 2011, this grant totaled $2,923,674 to the state of Hawaii alone, with funding also provided to six other states. This particular grant for the disabled will provide improvements in accessibility, and expansion of workforce training programs.
Non-profits engaged in providing gainful employment for disabled individuals may also apply for funding under government programs.
Direct grants to the disabled individual are most often found through local community programs, and occasionally from corporations. This usually involves funds to purchase equipment, such as wheelchairs, or the direct donation of such equipment. Educational grants, usually in the form of scholarships, are available through school financing offices. Occasionally corporations may make supplies available through a corporate in-kind giving program. Non-profit organizations receiving funding for grants for the disabled should have 501(c)(3) status.
Direct grants to disabled individuals are usually unavailable through the Federal government, due to existing programs such as the SSI/Disability provisions of the Social Security Act. Any Federal funding for disability grants will normally be centered around accessibility and training funds, rather than responding to specific individual needs.
National organizations that support specific disabilities such as blindness, deafness, or mobility disorders may provide disability grant funding for trials of new products. The Foundation Center (www.foundationcenter.org) maintains a list of source books for disability grants as well, such as Schlachter, Gail Ann; Weber, R. David. Financial Aid for the Disabled and Their Families. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, biennial.