Massachusetts Statewide Head Injury Program
One of the oldest state programs in the country to help people with brain injuries is in Massachusetts. Originally called the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) and founded in 1985, the Massachusetts Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP) program has been helping people in the state of Massachusetts for over 35 years. And due to lack of funding, in 1991 the Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund (HITS) was passed to help further fund SHIP.
The HITS trust fund was created to put a surcharge on people convicted for DUI or Driving to Endanger charges. Specifically, if a person in Massachusetts gets a DUI, they must pay a $125 fine to the SHIP program. Speeding is an additional fine for this fund. Individuals caught speeding are charged $25 to help fund this program. Around $1.8 million each year is collected alone from DUI fees.
The Massachusetts statewide head injury program does so much to help and the best part, there is no cap on the services they provide. To see if you're eligible, and to see the services they will pay for, continue reading below.
To be eligible for the money provided by the HITS Trust Fund, you must meet the eligibility requirements of the Massachusetts Statewide Head Injury Program. First, you must be a resident of Massachusetts and you must have a confirmed brain injury that was caused by something outside of the brain, ie, it is not a brain injury you were born with. You must also express difficulty in managing your everyday life since your brain injury occurred.
To show the program that you have difficulty managing various aspects of your life, you'll need to document the difficulties you experience because of your traumatic brain injury. Video is one of the best ways to document the difficulties you experience. You must also be a willing participant in the services provided by the program and you must be able to participate in the services.
Outside of case management, which is a critical component of the services provided by SHIP, the program offers a wide variety of services to encompass all needs of healing. One of the most popular services is residential services, however, this funding is now limited. They also provide funding help if an individual with a brain injury lives in a home setting that has more than one individual with a brain injury. Support around the clock must also be available for SHIP to cover most services.
Shared living services are also provided. This service is when an individual with a brain injury lives in a paid caregiver's home. This person will help you with your everyday needs. There are also several regional Service Centers around the state of Massachusetts that help people improve their job skills. Skills training is also provided, helping individuals live and learn more easily in their community.
SHIP will also cover costs stemming from home modifications to make the home more accessible, as well as substance abuse treatment, dental care, and assistive technology. The trust fund money is also used to support the prevention and education of brain injuries and public awareness of the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.
And if you need emergency funding, SHIP can be of assistance. The program’s administrator will authorize funding for specific emergency services if needed. Emergency services that are covered include transportation and respite care.
How to Apply
If you meet the eligibility requirements and feel this program is the right fit, you can apply by first requesting an application. To request an application, you must call SHIP to ask for an application or you can email them at SHIPU@MRC.state.ma.us. You'll need to send your release forms from the hospital where your injury was first treated as well. Once they have these records, as well as a finished application, they will send you a letter in the mail to alert you to their decision.
For more questions regarding this program, the contact for SHIP is Debra Kamen, who is the Director of the Statewide Community Services Department for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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