Parents of a Special Needs child have tough thoughts and decisions to consider regarding the future of their child. What will happen to my child once I am no longer around or when I am unable to care for my child?
Majority of parents are caregivers to their child or have a family unit that cares for their son/daughter. It is vital for parents who have a Special Needs child to have a plan of action ahead of time so that their child will have a place to live and maintain the support that he/she needs.
Looking at all possible resources is important and researching such programs and resources should be an ongoing process before their child is 18 years of age. For example, researching various employment opportunities that will foster independence, but keeping in mind that if your child receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), he/she cannot have more than $2000 in assets. In addition, it is a good idea to investigate possible living situations. Resources and programs that foster growth and independence are the most beneficial.
It is important for parents to consider having conservatorship for their child to ensure appropriate decisions are made for their child in regards to financial and medical decisions. In addition, parents should be aware and prepared for the Social Security Administration(SSA) to determine eligibility of their child’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid based on adult eligibility once he/she turns 18 years of age. A good resource to turn to is to read the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) pamphlet, “What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18."
The entire process can be overwhelming and it may seem like you have a lot of time to prepare, but sometimes life gets in the way and before you know it your child is turning 18 in a few weeks. To get more information or assistance in beginning the process of establishing a plan for your child it is best to speak with an expert who specializes in Special Needs Planning. Not every child’s future plan is the same and not every family’s situation is the same. Your child’s future plans should be fit to what is best and what is needed for your child.
William E. Lindahl, MBA, CLPF