Special Needs Planning
FOR THE MOST BELOVED MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILIES:
SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING
Raising children is a full-time job and for most, the worry never ends- even as the “children” become adults. This certainly true when you are the parent of a child with special needs.
Special Needs Trust
There may come a time when you, as a parent, are unable to care for your child who has special needs, either due to aging, incapacity or your own death. You may also want to financially provide for your child during your lifetime.
You may be a family member or a loved one of a special needs individual and care about their well-being and future.
You may be a person with a disability who possesses capacity to plan for themselves and want to take those affirmative steps.
Many special needs children and adults qualify for government benefits. However, these government benefits are means tested, which signifies that the recipient’s income and resources are capped. Any income that they receive, or any resources accumulated that place them above that cap reduces or eliminates their benefits.
However, there is something you or a loved one can do to protect them financially and to ensure their present and future quality of life: the creation of a Special Needs Trust (which is also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust), to financially supplement the life needs of the individual without affecting their government benefits.
Article 81 Guardianship and Alternatives
Additionally, depending on the child’s special need they may lack capacity to make decisions for themselves as they enter adulthood. The parents or family members of a special needs child should consider filing for their guardianship prior to the minor’s eighteenth birthday. The latter will allow them to make decisions for the child well past their majority and ensure their personal and financial security.
There are other, less restrictive, options to guardianship that can be explored, which includes living in the community with supportive services. The latter all depends on the person’s level of cognitive functioning, type of disability and capacity for autonomy.
Medicaid and other Government Benefits
Individuals with Special Needs are entitled to certain government benefits, including but not limited to Medicaid for their health care needs and Supplemental Security Income, which provides cash assistance for basic needs- like food, clothing and shelter. They may also be eligible for supportive services in the community.
Veronica can guide you as you or your family make these important life transitions and the decisions that may follow.