The primary purpose of the Information and Resources department at the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) is to provide callers with information about brain injury and refer them to appropriate service providers to meet their individual needs. A list of professional providers is maintained and updated regularly to ensure current and accurate information is given to all callers. Provider lists are not posted online since each caller, whether a survivor, caregiver, or professional, has individual needs, and are therefore encouraged to contact BIA-MA directly to discuss their unique situation.
There are concerns survivors, family members and caregivers after brain injury, from finding a neurologist with brain injury experience to applying for public benefits for the disabled. Below are the most frequently asked questions received from callers in the Central Massachusetts region.
Q: Where can I find affordable housing?
A: The BIA-MA maintains a list of Staffed and Shared Housing through a number of different agencies. Some providers offer 24 hour, group home living situations, while others provide housing with limited supervision. Adult Family Care agencies oversee an individual living with a host family, similar to foster care. Residences working exclusively with brain injury survivors are very rare and the wait list is extensive in most cases. BIA-MA can also assist individuals with applying for public subsidized housing, but again the wait list is usually several months or even years before a unit is available.
Q: How can I find a doctor or therapist with experience working with individuals with brain injury?
A: BIA-MA has a list with medical professionals in the brain injury field who provide care to survivors. We continually look for individuals, agencies, clinics and hospitals which demonstrate a history of providing services specifically to the brain injury community through site visits, conferences and other means. The most requested practitioners include neurologists, neuropsychologists, case managers, cognitive therapists and psychiatrists. Another frequent request is for assistance in locating facility based treatment, including inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation hospitals and clinics, neurorehabilitation units, substance abuse treatment and schools. Adult Day Health/Day Programs are another frequent request from family caregivers and professional providers. To access this information, call the BIA-MA Information and Resources department directly at 1-800-242-0030.
Q: What federal and state benefits can I receive now that I am disabled?
A: A brain injury is a life-altering event for the majority of survivors. In many cases they are unable to return to their current job and have limited resources to meet their financial needs. Federal and state sponsored programs are available to many people based on a variety of factors, usually based on income and the abilities of the individual to function successfully in the community. The majority of benefit programs are accessed through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which oversees a multitude of divisions including the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the Department of Transitional Assistance and the Department of Mental Health. Food stamps, transportation, home modification programs and personal care attendant services, which are sponsored by or subsidized in Massachusetts, are among the many systems in place for individuals with all types of physical and cognitive disabilities. There are also frequent calls about MassHealth (Medicaid), Social Security Insurance, Social Security Disability Income and other federally sponsored financial programs. The Information and Resources department at BIA-MA can assist with questions about where to go for assistance.