Get More Child Support for Your Child with Special Needs
If you are a single parent who is struggling financially, you may be eligible to receive benefits such as In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) for your child with special needs. But what about child support? You should be receiving enough money every month to not only support your child, but to cover all of his doctor appointments, therapy and extra essentials. If not, you need to get more child support for your child with a disability like autism.
According to the CDC, one in every 50 American children is diagnosed with autism. As a nation, we spend $137 billion on services for individuals with autism. And as parents, we spend a significant part of our income to provide the best possible future for our children who have special needs.
How much it costs to raise a child with autism
The burden of future planning, well-being and protection fall squarely on your shoulders as a custodial parent. It is the daily living and ordinary moments that test your self -reliance and capacity to parent alone.
The average lifetime cost of providing care for a child with autism is $1.4 million dollars, according to reports from Autism Speaks. This doesn’t include fundamental costs of child-rearing such as food, clothing, basic health care, education and housing. If your child also has a disability, the cost increases to $2.3 million.
An overview of the costs
Early intervention and therapy can make a huge difference to the future of a child with autism, but insurance only covers a fraction of the cost of occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, speech therapy, and socialization classes. Co-pays alone can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. And, insurance doesn’t cover any of the costs of alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and music therapy. Many single parents find themselves using second mortgages and credit cards to fund their child’s treatment.
But medical costs aren’t the only expense involved in raising a child with autism. Some children require around-the-clock care. You must hire an expensive caregiver in order to receive any type of respite or figure out a way to quit your job so you can stay home to care for your child.
These expenses can be a hardship for two-parent families; for single-parent families, they are even more stressful. Studies show that mothers of children with autism earn 56% less than mothers of children who do not have special needs. How can you provide the care their child needs and make ends meet? This is where government benefits like IHSS can assist you but also getting the proper amount of child support is essential in making sure all your bills are paid.
Get a new legal contract
California law requires that both parents support a child with special needs. However, standard child support formulas don’t take into account all of the needs of a child with autism. In order to modify a California child support agreement, you must let the judge know about your child’s special needs and requirements.
A parenting plan should spell out essential information and instructions. Managing the care of a child with special needs is often a full- time job and the effect on the custodial parent’s income should be considered when establishing child support. Since caring for your child with autism may extend well beyond the age of 18, you need to tailor your divorce agreement for the long-term. Use appropriate special needs trusts, in coordination with public benefits and in contemplation of gifting plans and long-term care insurance. Effectively channel support obligations and parenting plans in the divorce settlement to provide for more quality of life expenditures for the child.
If this process sounds overwhelming and you feel you need help, you can always reach out to us.
American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.
Contact us for help. Dial (877) 283-4807 or email us at [email protected]