With rehab scholarships, a specific rehab program may wave treatment costs for specific individuals who are admitted to the program. Costs can be waived in their entirety (meaning one can get free rehab) or a portion of the costs can be waived or deferred.
Typically, individuals who get scholarships to rehabilitation programs are those who cannot otherwise pay for the cost of the treatment and demonstrate a medical necessity for care. Several considerations about these programs are outlined below.
- Scholarships are based on need. Rehab programs may offer them to individuals who have no other means to pay, including little or no credit, few or no resources, few assets, and few other sources to get the money.
- Many rehab programs defer a certain portion of their profits for the development of scholarships on a yearly basis. Once this money is used for the year, it is gone, so it is important to apply for these programs early.
- Many programs may not offer full scholarships, but they may defer a significant portion of the costs.
- Unfortunately, not every rehabilitation program will offer scholarships to individuals who need them. This means that individuals in need must seek out programs that do or other forms of assistance.
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Applying for Scholarships
The application process will vary, depending on the specific rehabilitation program offering the scholarship, but in general, applying for any type of scholarship involves a similar process. Different programs will have different application requirements. For instance, some programs may take application data over the phone, some may take it online, and others may require that the individual comes to the facility and applies in person. General scholarship requirements are outlined below.
- Most programs require personal disclosures from applicants that include a complete description of the applicant’s situation, information regarding the applicant’s available finances, information regarding the applicant’s insurance coverage, other personal information that is relevant to the scholarship, and demonstration of need.
- The majority of scholarships require that the person does not have any insurance or is underinsured regarding their substance use disorder coverage.
- Often, applicants must live within the state of the rehabilitation program. Make sure that the application for the scholarship is appropriate.
- A referral from a psychiatrist or addiction medicine physician can go a long way in helping to get a scholarship. Referrals from these sources are generally preferable to referrals from therapists and counselors; however, additional referrals from therapists can also help.
- It helps if the individual can demonstrate that they have exhausted all other potential payment opportunities, including borrowing money from family, using credit, borrowing from a bank, etc.
- Many rehab programs that offer scholarships may require personal references, specifically references that can confirm the individual is committed to the recovery process.
Rejection is part of the application process, as programs get many applicants for each available scholarship.
Generally, serious candidates will be interviewed in person or over the phone after submitting an application. It is important to stand out in both of these situations. The provider needs to feel that the applicant is motivated, will benefit from treatment, and will stick to treatment. In addition, the applicant must demonstrate both medical and financial need to qualify for the scholarship.
Remember, most of these programs are taking their own profits to provide these free rehab benefits to potential clients. The personal qualities needed for success in individuals seeking scholarships to rehabilitation programs are similar to the qualities in individuals who are successful in seeking scholarships for higher education. The person needs to stand out and be sincere. They must also be resilient and continue to apply even if they get multiple rejections.
Other Possible Payment Sources
There are other potential sources of financial assistance for substance use disorder rehab. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a couple programs that individuals can utilize to help them pay for the cost of their rehab treatment. These include:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services-Access to Recovery, which is a voucher-based program that can be used by individuals in need
- The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program
Some individuals with financial need (low income and no health insurance) might be available for subsidized government coverage. One can visit HealthCare.gov in order to determine if they qualify for a government subsidy.
Other individuals might be appropriate for state-funded rehabilitation programs. To find out if one qualifies for a program in their state, access SAMHSA’s Directory of Single State Agencies for Substance Abuse Services.
Several nonprofit organizations provide funds available for the treatment of addiction for individuals in need. CharityWatch or GuideStar allows users to search charities in the area and potentially find programs that offer these opportunities.
If You Fail to Get a Scholarship or Grant
If an individual is committed to getting into rehab, they will most likely find a way to do so. Applying for Medicaid coverage (which can often cover the cost of rehabilitation), getting free rehab support from 12-Step programs, getting support from other community center groups, or asking for assistance from family and friends may be the only alternatives for individuals with few resources who wish to get into a rehabilitation program.
Often, rehab programs are sympathetic to individuals’ needs and may offer a payment plan or sliding scale payment program that takes income levels into account. When an individual is applying for scholarships, they can also ask about these options.
Other potential options include getting a bank loan or starting a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise money for one’s recovery. Crowdfunding campaigns have become quite popular for individuals trying to raise money for numerous causes, and they can be a viable option for individuals who need assistance in getting started on the road to recovery.