It’s no doubt that having a child with special needs adds complexity to your financial plan. While every family’s financial situation is unique, Trumpet Behavioral Health has partnered with Northwestern Mutual to discuss some general short- and long-term special needs financial planning strategies parents of children with autism should consider.
Start Financial Planning For Your Child With Special Needs
Start With Your Goals
When your child receives their diagnosis, take a look at your current financial status and future goals. Where are you today, and what expenses are you planning for? Gather estimated expenses for your child’s immediate therapy plan and start to consider any long-term services or care they may require.
Build Your Team
Once you have all the numbers in front of you, gather your support team, which should include your autism therapy team and a financial advisor. Your child’s autism therapy team will be able to provide information on your child’s specific needs and progress, while your financial advisor can translate those needs into savings, investments, and plans.
Read More: Beginning ABA Therapy
Understand Your Benefits
Next, you and your advisor should take a look at what government benefits you qualify for and how long you’ll be able to use these benefits. Check with your insurance company to see what autism services they’ll fully or partially cover. If you’re not sure what your insurance will cover, Trumpet Behavioral Health’s team of insurance specialists can walk you through the specifics of your plan.
Create A Budget
Take a look at income, current expenses, deductibles, and other government benefits. Then, write down additional expenses based on your conversations with your child’s therapy team. Look at where you can reduce expenses and how much you can afford to save and invest on a monthly basis.
Long-term Investments For Children With Autism
There are two long-term plans parents of children with autism should consider creating:
An ABLE account is a tax-advantaged saving account that can help fund the expenses associated with autism. You can regularly invest into the account, which is (with limitations) exempt from federal taxes and asset limits on Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. You can use funds from your ABLE account to help with all aspects of your child’s care, including education, housing, assistive technology, personal support services, and more. ABLE accounts are typically used for near- or mid-term planning since they offer more immediate financial relief.
Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust is a long-term plan that allows you to bequeath money to your child without reducing their eligibility to receive government benefits. Special Needs Trusts are typically funded with life insurance policies and ensure your child has the resources they need to live comfortably in the long term.
Starting your family’s journey with autism can be overwhelming, but there are resources to make the financial planning parts of it easier. From helping you understand your insurance benefits to collaborating with you on your child’s progress and potential future needs, Trumpet’s team is always here to provide as much support as possible.