What is a Special Needs Financial Plan?
When you have a child with special needs who will require lifelong support, it can be overwhelming, especially when you need to plan for their entire lives whether you are present or not. In addition to mapping out the benefits involved, which can include In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps and more, a special needs financial planner can guide your family through the considerations that will determine which services your child will need throughout his or her life and the costs associated.
How much money will we need for a financial plan?
Financial planners now predict that raising a child to age 18 costs upwards of $250,000. Parents of children with special needs incur costs as much as ten times greater. According to Autism Speaks, raising a child with autism costs on average $60,000 a year. A severely autistic child can have medical bills that exceed this amount, with a lifetime expense of over $3 million.
Even if you have health insurance, you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on out-of-pocket fees associated with equipment, medication, and care for your child, depending on the diagnosis. Some disabilities are more costly than others. These payments may continue once he or she becomes an adult and plans for who will oversee his or her care after you’re gone will be important.
How to create a financial plan
Thinking about these things might give you fear and anxiety. But the act of creating a plan can actually ease these tensions. A financial plan will give you peace of mind since some of the issues you need to confront are financial: How do you set aside money for your child without affecting his or her government benefits? And some are emotional: Who would understand your child’s needs if something were to happen to you right now?
If you get started on these now, you’ll feel calmer and more in control.
Make a list
Take an inventory of the access you have to resources and financial benefits that you and your child will need. Consider what potential government assistance you and your family may be eligible for, based on income and the nature of your child’s disability.
There are different programs throughout the state of California. At the state level there is a Medical program for health insurance and Social Security disability, as well as In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). It’s important to take stock of what options may be available to you while also identifying what additional care you want to provide for your child that will not be covered.
Prepare a financial plan for the long term
It’s never too early to plan for your child when he or she reaches adulthood, so start envisioning what it will look like as soon as you can.
Is your child interested in, and able to attain, post-secondary education? Will he be able to work and earn a supplementary income? Will your child be able to live independently? If not, what types of living arrangements are available? Consider what estate planning you already have in place, such as a will or trust, for when you are no longer around to care for your child.
Consulting with a professional well-versed in special needs financial planning can also help you avoid potentially costly mistakes, as well as make you aware of available programs.
Create a team of experts to help
That includes an attorney, advocate, doctor, accountant, and government benefits specialist to help you understand everything about Social Security, Medical, IHSS, and other programs.
If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact 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 (888) 323-2133 or email us at [email protected]