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Raising a special-needs child is an incredible experience, but it often requires extensive planning for the future. And it’s not without its share of unique stressors, which means you’ll need to have a stress management strategy in place to handle this special type of anxiety. 

There’s a lot to consider: If you become ill or pass away, who will care for your child? Does your child plan to move out of your home one day, and if so, will they live alone or at an assisted-living facility? Are your child’s medical expenses expected to increase, decrease, or remain the same over the years? These factors, as well as the ones Financial Planning Group lists below, are all important things to consider as you create a life plan for your special-needs child.

Is Your Child’s Condition Permanent?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are approximately 6.5 million children who receive special education services each year in the United States. Some children undergo early intervention that helps them overcome developmental delays, but these services don’t produce long-term results for every child. When you create a life plan for your special-needs child, determine whether your child has a permanent medical concern or a temporary delay that may improve over time. You should prepare for your child’s future either way, but you may need to set aside extra funds for a child with a permanent or long-term disability. Autism Parenting Magazine notes that the ABLE account is one such option.

What Services Will Your Child Require in the Future?

Your special-needs child may have a busy schedule that includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and frequent medical procedures. Are these services your child will always need, and will they increase over time? You should also factor in the cost of services your child may need in the future, such as training classes for basic living skills or a home health aide that helps your child cook, clean, or bathe. Additional challenges that may be harder to anticipate can potentially arise, which is why it’s important to have proper documentation in place.

While it may be difficult to think about, it is important to put a plan in place in case your child needs additional treatments at some point for mental health issues or addictions. Unfortunately, these conditions are common in adults that are already facing other life challenges. If you’re unsure what your child might need in the future, talk to their healthcare providers for insight on how medical needs may progress over time.

Will Insurance Cover Any of Your Child’s Expenses?

Do you pay for all of your child’s expenses out of pocket, or does insurance help cover some of them? It’s difficult to predict whether expenses that are covered this year will still be covered 5 or 10 years from now, but the Affordable Care Act currently stops companies from refusing coverage for preexisting conditions. With that in mind, you may want to budget for future health insurance payments, as well as payments to a Flexible Spending Account.

Does (or Will) Your Child Qualify for Government Assistance?

Government assistance may help reduce your child’s living expenses when they become an adult. Medicaid may help pay for assisted living facilities or in-home care, and food stamps may help ensure your child can afford healthy meals. Your child may also qualify for a housing allowance, assistance with utilities, or cash benefits for other living expenses.

If you decide that government assistance is a potential option for your child, keep in mind that he or she may need help filling out the forms. Make sure your life plan includes information about who can help your child apply for benefits, as well as a detailed description of the trustee who will handle your child’s payments if you are unable to do so.

As the parent of a special-needs child, your schedule is likely filled with medical appointments and Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. It can be difficult to squeeze in time for a quick shower, let alone spend hours navigating the basics of creating a life plan for a special-needs child. Consider scheduling an appointment with a financial expert so that you can quickly and accurately establish a plan that meets your child’s needs.

Financial Planning Group helps clients achieve financial independence by objectively evaluating their resources and objectives through adequate planning and periodic reviewing and monitoring to meet their important financial goals. Reach out today for more info! 901-685-1600