A Reason to Smile at Tax Time – Affordable Orthodontic Care for Children in Need

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A national charity recommends that taxpayers consider allocating a portion of their 2011 tax return to affordable orthodontic braces for children ages 10-18. Families approved for treatment through Smiles Change Lives pay $500 for braces, a fraction of the nationwide average cost for treatment. Interested families are encouraged to visit http://www.smileschangelives.org for more information.

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As a mother I feel so frustrated for not being able to afford my daughter’s orthodontic treatment, especially now that my financial circumstances have changed since I lost my job.

“As a mother I feel so frustrated for not being able to afford my daughter’s orthodontic treatment, especially now that my financial circumstances have changed since I lost my job. I explained our situation to my daughter, and even though she seemed to understand, I saw in her face a feeling of frustration that really broke my heart,” says Erica R., mother of a Smiles Change Lives participant. “This year, I’m using my tax refund to pay Smiles Change Lives’ program fee, and my daughter is getting the braces she needs.”

Hardworking families like Erica’s have something to smile about this tax season. In today’s economic climate, families must make tough decisions about how to allocate financial resources. Investing in children’s oral healthcare doesn’t have to fall by the wayside. If your family experienced a disruption or decrease in income in 2011, you may qualify for Smiles Change Lives’ (SCL) affordable orthodontic care program. Through SCL, children can receive braces for a fraction of the average tax payer’s refund.

Smiles Change Lives, a national nonprofit, aims to deliver essential orthodontic care to children throughout the country. Qualified applicants must:

·         Be 10-18 years of age

·         Have good oral hygiene

·         Have crooked teeth or misaligned jaws

·         Not currently wear braces

·         Have a household taxable income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

·         Be willing to pay a one-time program fee of $500

After filing 2011 taxes, parents and guardians are encouraged to visit http://www.smileschangelives.org/financial to determine if their child qualifies financially for Smiles Change lives. Educators, nurses, counselors and oral health professionals may nominate or refer candidates to this program. Visit http://www.smileschangelives.org/apply to download an application in English or Spanish or call (888) 900-3554 to request more information or an application by mail.

Smiles Change Lives (SCL) promotes and provides access to life-changing, essential orthodontic treatment to children from low-income families. With a growing demand nationwide, our vision is to provide access to braces for all youth suffering from crooked teeth and misaligned jaws. Since 1997, SCL has created more than 1,500 healthy smiles.

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Andrea Umbreit

LeAnn Smith
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