Service Animal Accreditation Programs and Additional Resources
Just keep in mind that service animals must go through structured training. This is how they provide the type of assistance a disabled person truly needs. Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is a nonprofit accreditation program that sets the standards for training service canines. On the ADI website, you’ll additionally find a searchable database for locating accredited training programs in your area.
Service animals can be very helpful to their humans. They can change lives by helping us with sensory, physical, and mental struggles. A service animal goes through extensive training that allows them to provide for us, but that also means they’re expensive to purchase. The average service animal can range in price from $15,000 to $50,000. That doesn’t even include the ongoing costs of food, grooming, vet bills, vaccines, etc.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), only dogs are allowed as service animals. Unfortunately, Medicare does not offer any type of insurance benefit to help cover the cost of purchasing or maintaining a service dog (or any other service animal). Medicare is not alone in that regard. Currently, there are no insurance plans, including Medicaid, that offer cost-sharing benefits for service animals.
In addition, if you receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, you may be able to get financial assistance. To find out if you qualify, you’ll need to meet with your primary care physician. If they think a service animal is necessary, they’ll submit an application on your behalf. The application will be reviewed by a team, who will make the ultimate decision. If approved, the VA will pay for veterinary bills and equipment. However, the initial purchase of the animal, as well as other expenses like grooming, food, boarding, and other routine expenses will not be covered.
If you aren’t a veteran and aren’t taking Social Security benefits yet, you may be able to find other programs that offer financial assistance for service dogs. Several non-profit organizations distribute grants for service animals. Most of these non-profits focus on applicants with specific disabilities or part of specific groups (like veterans). A few of the major non-profits include:
Service Animals in Places of Employment
Employers are prohibited from discriminating due to a disability and must provide reasonable accommodation. This includes allowing a service animal into the work environment. Employers are allowed to ask for documentation.
How to Get a Service Dog for Anxiety or Depression And How Much It Costs
There’s a reason dogs are known as man’s best friend. Dogs can help lower stress, improve fitness and increase happiness. Service dogs can do even more for people with mental or physical impairments. These dogs are specially trained to perform specific tasks that can help people live independently. This special training can increase the cost of obtaining one of these animals, so it’s worth asking if Medicaid covers service dogs.
Unfortunately, Medicaid doesn’t cover service dogs. In fact, no health insurance option covers either the initial cost of getting a service dog or the ongoing food, grooming and vet costs. This is true of both Medicare and private health insurance. This means that people who could benefit from a service dog need to find alternative finance options.