There’s no shortage of love in your family, but a special needs child needs more than love. The expense of any special schooling, additional healthcare and therapy, and the concern that your child will need extra care through adulthood means that making the most of your budget is more important than ever.
1. Talk to a Financial Planning Expert or Attorney
It’s important to keep focused on the future. Apart from the complex business of getting benefits to help you, you need to look for any tax breaks you qualify for, and you need to plan your estate so that your special needs child will be cared for after you are gone. Yes, seeing an expert is an expense, but in the long run, it could save you a lot of money, so it’s worth getting advice.
2. Be Sure You’re Getting the Benefits Due to You
Applying for benefits is a must. Even if your family isn’t “low-income,” there are benefits that help people with disabilities. As we already mentioned, it’s worth getting a little help from those who know the benefits structure and what your family is entitled to.
3. Top up Funds Using a Special Needs Trust
You will need legal help for this, but a special needs trust is considered as a “legal entity.” That means that money in the trust can’t affect benefits. If you are leaving a substantial legacy or have life insurance, it’s worth directing these funds into a trust.
Other family members and even friends may also be willing to contribute to the trust, and the funds can be used for out-of-pocket expenses your insurance doesn’t cover. Make sure that family members are aware that a direct legacy to a special needs child may hurt benefits and encourage them to use the trust in their estate planning.
4. Find out About 529A Accounts
In 2015, legislation supporting dedicated bank accounts for special needs support funding was passed. The bank account can hold a substantial sum without affecting benefits. Find out what rules apply in your home state.
5. Question Medical Needs Insurance Doesn’t Want to Cover
Some types of therapy may be seen as elective, but in your special needs child’s treatment, they may be medical necessities. Be sure to ask doctors for the necessary information to make a compelling case with your insurers and be ready to spend a little extra time negotiating with your insurance provider.
6. Network with Other Special Needs Families
From in-person support groups to Facebook groups and websites, you’ll learn a lot from families who face similar challenges to yours. Apart from invaluable moral support, your network can point you towards deals, helpful organizations, and other money-saving opportunities.
7. Check Out Freebies and Grants
If you’re feeling the strain of supporting a special needs child, look out for organizations that provide help for free. From helping with travel costs for treatment journeys to funding for mobility aids, hearing aids, and more, there are many wonderful organizations that want to help you.
8. Look Out for Stores Offering Deals for Special Needs Kids
Just as there are private individuals who want to reach out and help you, there are also businesses that try to make your life as the parent of a special needs child easier. You’ll find a fairly extensive list by following the link – and feel free to add to it in comments if you can think of one or two more.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself, Too
In closing, it’s important to remember that special needs kids need their parents even more than ordinary kids do. With so many demands on your personal and budgetary reserves, it’s all too easy to forget that you have needs too. Use your network, take advantage of all the support you can get, take time out to pamper yourself when you can, and keep yourself strong, well, and positive.