Costs Associated with a Spinal Cord Injury

A catastrophic spinal cord injury results in an extensive financial challenge for injured individuals and their families. From initial hospitalization to rehabilitation to ongoing equipment needs and beyond, the costs associated with a spinal cord injury represent a significant burden. Financial assistance options do exist, and fundraising can be a viable solution to help a spinal cord injury survivor build independence, mobility, and health.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), about 17,810 new spinal cord injuries occur each year. Costs associated with hospitalization, rehabilitation, and ongoing care vary depending on the type of spinal cord injury. An NSCISC data sheet reports that:

The average yearly expenses (health care costs and living expenses) and the estimated lifetime costs that are directly attributable to SCI vary greatly based on education, neurological impairment, and pre-injury employment history. The below estimates do not include any indirect costs such as losses in wages, fringe benefits, and productivity (indirect costs averaged $78,633 per year in 2020 dollars).


Common Spinal Cord Injury Expense Considerations

Understanding the full extent of the costs associated with a spinal cord injury is a daunting process, particularly for families who are in the midst of the initial recovery process. Knowing what to expect is the first step in facing and overcoming the financial burden of a spinal cord injury.

A simplified list of the costs involved with a spinal cord injury includes:

  • Surgery and hospitalization
  • Outpatient medical services
  • Rehabilitation services (physical, vocational, educational)
  • Caregiving
  • Medical travel and temporary lodging for treatment
  • Equipment and accommodation considerations, including home modifications and an accessible van
  • Medications and supplies


What Does Insurance Cover after a Spinal Cord Injury?

The unfortunate reality is that medical insurance DOES NOT provide 100% coverage for spinal cord injuries and subsequent care.


Finding Financial Help

Fundraising offers hope to individuals living with a spinal cord injury. As a trusted national nonprofit, Help Hope Live is dedicated to helping individuals address the staggering costs associated with spinal cord injury through caring and compassionate community-based fundraising.


How Does Fundraising for Spinal Cord Injuries Work?

Fundraising with our nonprofit works as follows:

  1. Submit a campaign request for assistance at helphopelive.org/get-started/apply
  2. You’ll be paired with a Client Services Coordinator
  3. Your Coordinator will provide you with one-on-one fundraising help, including personalized fundraising materials and guidance on how to rally your community, share your story on social media, reach out to the press, plan in-person or virtual fundraising events, and much more


Does Fundraising Work?

Here are a few Help Hope Live fundraising success stories:


"We raised 114% of our goal. Our Help Hope Live Coordinator diligently guided us through the whole process."

Just before he planned to retire, Paul Buckman fell in his own bedroom and became a quadriplegic. Help Hope Live provided a tax-deductible, secure, and medically verified way for his community to provide financial assistance. In 2018, his family purchased an accessible van.

Stairlift installed as a result of many donations. May God continue to bless Stephan and Help Hope Live.

Stephany A Golden was injured in an ATV accident in 2015. His family was left with countless out-of-pocket costs from daily caregiving to physical therapy and home medical supplies. With fundraisers including an online auction and a poker tournament, his campaign raised enough to cover a game-cs wife Katrina is now a Help Hope Live Brand Ambassador.

"Thank you for your kindness, support, and generosity."

Eileen Reedy became paralyzed from the waist down when she fell down the stairs. She faced $200,000 in annual out-of-pocket medical costs to manage the care needs associated with her level of injury. Unique fundraising pathways from golf tournaments to online gaming events have brought critical care within reach for Eileen year after year.

"This has given him access to so many things that were quietly out-of-reach."

Contractor Bill Stefansic sustained a life-changing spinal cord injury while doing the work that he loved. Accessible travel alone cost his family $800 to $1000 per month. Fundraising brought essential equipment within reach to ease the burden, including a standing chair and an accessible van.

MOST COMMON SPINAL CORD INJURY EXPENSES

Surgery
Hospitalization
Rehabilitation
Caregiving
Medical travel
Equipment and medications

RESOURCES

Ready to Get Started?

If you choose to fundraise with our nonprofit, here’s how the process will look:

1. APPLY for assistance

2. YOU’LL BE PAIRED with a Client Services Coordinator

3. YOUR COORDINATOR will provide you with one-on-one fundraising help, including personalized fundraising materials and guidance on how to rally your community, share your story on social media, reach out to the press, plan in-person or virtual fundraising events, and more.


Need Other Financial Help Options?

For alternatives to fundraising, you can find information on a variety of financial assistance options for spinal cord injuries in our Resource Directory for catastrophic injury patients, family members, and caregivers.