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Navigating the Costs of Raising a Child with Special Needs

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Raising a child is undoubtedly hard and expensive. However, raising one with special needs can be emotionally and financially even more challenging. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the medical costs for raising children with birth injuries are 26 times higher than those of other children, with a lifetime cost of over $1 million. These costs include medical treatments, specialized equipment, therapy sessions, and special schooling.

This article will explore effective techniques for navigating the costs associated with raising a child with special needs.

1.   Get Legal Assistance

Suppose your child suffered a birth injury due to medical malpractice by the healthcare professionals involved in prenatal care and delivery. In such a case, you can hold them responsible and file financial claims against them. Birth injuries can cause conditions like cerebral palsy, which can lead to developmental disorders. A cerebral palsy attorney can assist families in pursuing legal action and getting the financial aid required for the child’s care.

A legal professional will help gather evidence, determine the level of the defendant’s negligence that led to the injury, identify if the injury could have been prevented, and calculate the lifetime cost of injury. After building the case, they negotiate a settlement with the other party’s attorney. If they fail to settle, the case may go to court. The amount received in compensation can vary on a case-to-case basis, depending on the type and intensity of the injury, the state you reside in, and the level of medical malpractice.

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2.   Establish a Special Needs Trust

Effective financial planning is a crucial aspect of ensuring the fulfillment of the child’s future needs. It involves establishing a special needs trust, which can provide lifelong financial security for a child with special needs.

A special needs trust is a legal structure that enables families to set money aside for their special needs kid while maintaining the child’s eligibility for government assistance programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. With careful preparation, obtaining an inheritance or other financial windfall might allow your child to receive these crucial benefits since these government programs have rigorous income and asset restrictions.

As the assets fall under the trust’s ownership rather than the child with special needs, it is best to set it up while the child is still young, even if you do not immediately finance it. It is a one-time cost and advantageous for multiple reasons. You can enlist the trust as a beneficiary for a parent’s estate, life insurance policy, or financial settlement to fund it. It is best to consult legal professionals to determine the best way and to establish a special needs trust for optimal financial planning.

3.   Invest in Special Needs Programs and Services

The future success of a child with special needs depends on funding programs and services. These programs, ranging from educational efforts to therapeutic exercises, may greatly impact a child’s development and overall well-being.

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Educational programs are essential for special needs children to receive the support and adaptations required to succeed academically. These programs involve specialized instruction and assistance services, including occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and assistive technology. They can help children overcome learning obstacles and realize their full potential.

Kids benefit from these programs by learning vital abilities and skills, including mobility, communication, and self-care, which are crucial for their independence and quality of life. Parents can also invest in vocational training and job placement services for children with special needs to assist them in achieving financial independence.

Several resources are available to help families access these programs and services since they can be costly otherwise. Government initiatives like Medicaid and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) finance and support interventions in education and therapy. Moreover, charity foundations and non-profit organizations help the families of children with special needs raise the required funds or qualify for special assistance programs.

When planning to invest in programs and services for kids with special needs, assessing their needs, circumstances, and lifestyles is important. A better approach is to consult professionals such as financial planners, lawyers, social workers, therapists, and healthcare professionals to seek their advice and devise an optimal plan.

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4.   Sign Up for Respite Care

Caring for kids with special needs can be exceptionally challenging. Therefore, caregivers need to indulge in self-care by signing up for respite care. It allows parents and caregivers to care for their own health while leaving their kids with the best possible care.

Respite care options include home-based or center-based care or short-term residential care whenever required. Under respite care, qualified professionals and health experts care for the child with special needs so that their parents and caregivers can take time for themselves and fulfill other responsibilities.

It can also benefit the child with special needs, allowing them to socialize and interact with others, improving social skills. Respite caregivers also provide special education and therapy to kids, helping them develop cognitive skills and learning abilities. Even though respite care can cost you, certain government entities, non-profit organizations, and charity foundations can help access it.

Conclusion

While navigating the costs of raising a child with special needs, it is essential to know the available options. You can get legal assistance if your child sustains a birth injury and get the required financial compensation to cover lifelong care and treatment. Moreover, establish a special needs trust and invest in programs and services for children with special needs while they are still young. It will allow you to plan the child’s future finances. Lastly, you can sign up for respite care to get relief for yourself and allow the child to develop social and cognitive skills in the hands of professional caregivers.

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