Planning for the financial future of your child can be incredibly daunting, especially if they have special needs that you need to account for. For parents of children with special needs, their concerns go beyond how to pay for college, although that worry certainly isn’t far from their minds either.
Some common monetary anxieties that parents of children with special needs have include having to pay for medication, procedures, or therapies and figuring out how their children will pay for their expenses or who will manage their care when they become adults or in case they have to live independently all of a sudden.
These can be incredibly debilitating yet valid fears for them to have, but some forward-thinking and meticulous planning can ease the anxiety that comes with parenting a child with a disability. Below are some practical strategies to help any struggling parent successfully plan for their child’s financial future.
Consult with a professional
The world of disability benefits, estate planning, and taxation is a tangled and complex mess, so it’s important to hire either a family lawyer or social security disability lawyer to help navigate the chaos. Although it may cost some money to seek professional legal advice, it’s worth it since it guarantees better financial outcomes for everyone involved and it saves time, effort, and money in the long run. This process isn’t something that can be done properly without assistance.
Draft a timeline for your child’s financial future
Having a comprehensive financial plan can make the future seem a little less scary and more manageable. When creating this timeline, it’s important to list down any noteworthy financial milestones, special medical treatments, and any significant turning points in the life of the child. You’ll also have to write down an estimate for how much each of these will cost. This will help you see for yourself what exactly you need to prepare for and how long you have to save up for it.
Take care of your needs
Besides taking care of all the needs of your child, it’s important to take care of yourself, as well. You can’t help your child if you yourself aren’t first mentally and physically capable of doing so. It’s important to strike a good balance between self-care and child care. Remember that investing in your health and well-being is investing in your child’s future too.
Keep track of all public benefits
There are plenty of public benefits available to families of children with special needs and disabilities, and it’s important to take note of all of them and take advantage of them. A few examples of such benefits include Medicaid, scholarships, tax exemptions, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and discounts, but there are also more to be found offered by your local community or local government unit, so you should always be on the lookout for them.
Be mindful of your savings
Start saving for your child’s future as soon as you can. It’s helpful to have a separate bank account that’s solely dedicated to the care of your child. This helps you stay accountable about where your money is going and allows you to build a financial reserve that your child can access whenever they need it in the future.
Look into comprehensive insurance plans
Although it’s painful to think about, you will not always be here to take care of your child. It’s important to ask yourself, in the event that something happens to you, will your child be financially equipped to handle themselves? And have you made the necessary preparations for them to be able to do so? If the answer is no to both questions, then you may want to consider acquiring a comprehensive insurance plan as a proactive measure.
Talk to other families with special needs children
There’s an entire community out there of families who are going through the same thing as you. Make it a point to reach out to them. This is a great way for you to receive as well as offer support, resources, and guidance, and it gives your kids the opportunity to make friends with other children who they share similar experiences with. They may be able to share with you some financial resources that you might not have heard of as well.
Write a will
There’s nothing morbid about writing a will even if you’re in good health. In fact, this is one of the smartest financial moves you can do for your child with special needs. This is because if you don’t have a will upon your death, the court will name your child as the beneficiary to your assets, which renders them ineligible to receive federal benefits. Writing a will and specifying that your financial assets will go to the special needs trust rather than your child prevents this from happening.
Planning for the financial future of your child in the event that you pass away or when they become adults looks a little different when they have special needs or disabilities. These tips ensure that you can successfully prepare them for any financial challenge that comes their way in the future.