Parents who have a child with special needs understand the joy that a special-needs child can bring. Along with the joy, however, comes a very unique set of challenges. Take, for example, the costs involved with caring for a child who has special needs. In addition to paying for routine medical care and consistently taking time from work and other activities to care for a special-needs child, parents may be faced with a variety of other costs. In some instances, even items such as toys are extremely expensive, as they may require a special design to protect the child’s safety.
As parents of a child with special needs also know, the costs associated with caring for special-needs children do not end when the child turns eighteen. It is oftentimes the case that a person with special needs is never able to become fully self-supporting. Fortunately, there are government programs in place to help special-needs individuals, but these programs sometimes only cover the bare essentials. Parents who want to provide additional support for their child with special needs may do so, but they must proceed with caution in order to protect the child’s benefits.
Medicaid and SSI many times become the primary means of support for those with special needs. These programs are needs based, which means that in addition to having a qualifying disability, individuals must meet financial tests in order to receive benefits. As such, special-needs individuals may be disqualified from benefits if their parent gives them a substantial gift or leaves them an inheritance to supplement their care. The way around this is with a special needs trust.
Parents who establish a special needs trust for their child can provide support for the child, without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for public benefits. There are strict rules surrounding special needs trust creation and administration, however, so families should always make this consideration with a special needs trust attorney. Special needs trusts many times allow parents to give their child the resources necessary to live a happy and comfortable lifestyle.