Caring for a child with autism entails an extra layer of care and financial responsibility. Since none of us know what the future holds, it is essential to start planning long-term for your child with special needs. Make the most of your child’s future with these helpful tips.
1. Create a Financial Plan
Draw a timeline of your child’s life. What will be his needs moving forward? This includes everything from household costs to educational and medical expenses. Then take into account your income sources and total net income. Decide on the best way to make sure your income covers your listed costs. You can opt to create a savings account for your child or an emergency fund to prevent debt in the wake of unforeseen expenses.
2. Assess Your Child’s Benefits
There are several federal and state entitled programs that can help with your child’s financial security. Many individuals with autism rely on public benefits received through Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Administration (SSA), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicaid, and/or Medicare. This is why states, such as Utah, continue to expand their autism insurance mandate.
It is best to sit down with a special needs attorney to help you determine your child’s eligibility for these programs. A basic understanding of disability claims is also essential when requesting government assistance.
3. Create a Last Will
A will guarantees what happens to your assets after your death. Having a last will ensures that your disabled child receives an allocated portion of your estate. It also instructs if certain funds should be held until your child reaches a certain age.
If you have a child under 18, make sure to name a trustee in your will. A trustee will manage your inheritance and pass it on to your child once they become legal adults. Without a trustee, the court will decide who handles your estate.
4. Explore Education and Work Opportunities
There are many programs created specifically for children with special needs. Several vocational schools offer training in the areas of cooking, shopping, travel, self-care, and money management. These skills will help your child gain self-esteem and even secure future employment. Today’s job market provides a wide range of career paths for individuals with disabilities.
5. Write a Letter of Intent
No one in the world knows your special needs child better than you do. This is why you need to write a Letter of Intent as a guide for his future care providers. It is technically not a legal document, but it helps you communicate your concerns for your child’s future. It also provides daily instructions about your child on a more detailed level.
Securing a successful future for your child takes patience and realistic goal-setting. Coming up with a comprehensive plan ensures that your child will receive lifetime care and financial support. It can be challenging at first but keep in mind that the plans you make today will impact your child for the rest of his life.