Parents of a child with a disability often have to become experts on their child’s condition and care options, be well-versed in government benefit programs, and be tireless advocates for their education and treatment options. When the child has a severe disability, which is expected to last into adulthood, the parent must also consider how to plan for their child’s continuing requirements. While preparing for your disabled child’s future can seem daunting, there are steps you can take to ensure the right resources will be there when needed.
Understanding Government Programs
In most cases, children with severe disabilities are going to rely on government benefit programs for the majority of their healthcare and living expenses as adults. For parents, becoming familiar with these programs and their requirements is critical. If you have not already had to navigate Medi-Cal and Social Security, it is never too soon to start learning about how they work. The more you know about the eligibility and benefit structure, the better you will know what resources your child can expect to have in the future. Additionally, for those who intend to supplement their child’s support, having this information is vital to planning in a way which does not interfere with benefit entitlement.
California Special Needs Trust
Another important step is learning about California special needs trust. These are particular kinds of trust which allow the child or a third-party such as a parent or grandparent to have assets in place to pay for any additional expenses for the child without interfering with the child’s eligibility for government benefits. An important distinction is who creates the trust. This is because when a child owns the resources in the trust, the State can take some of them when he or she dies or the trust ends. A third-party trust, however, does not belong to the beneficiary and cannot be reached by the State. Additionally, there are specific rules regarding the reason the trust resources can be used. If payment is made for the wrong reasons, it could be counted as income to the beneficiary and result in his or her program disqualification or a reduction in benefits. However, with careful planning, a special needs trust could help support your child’s needs and quality of life for many years to come.
Consider Your Own Needs
When you are planning for your child’s needs, it is easy to neglect your own future. If you are considering caring for your child at home, you also need to factor in changes to your income during your retirement years. Although your expenses may go down, your child’s care is not likely to become less expensive. Therefore, it is also essential to consider your financial situation so that you can prepare for your child’s future and meet your retirement goals.
To plan for your child’s future, it is essential that you have the advice of an experienced attorney who understands the challenges faced by special needs families. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have the experience with California special needs planning and can help you prepare for your child’s care and needs. Schedule a free consultation today.