Around 61 million adults are living with a disability in the U.S. and for their parents, one of the most pressing concerns is long-term care. Parents with a disabled child should take important steps as soon as possible to foster independence and financial security in their children. Even those whose children are adults can make key changes to soothe their concerns about their children’s futures.
Applying for SSI Benefits Before Your Child Turns 22
Visit the Social Security and request for your child to be determined by the SSA before they are 22. This will enable them to receive Social Security Disability Insurance based on their parents’ earnings upon the death or disability of their parents. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are considerably higher than SSI benefits, which currently amount to $794 per month. By 2022, however, it is expected that this amount will increase to $841.
Preparing a Care Plan for Your Child
Leave a written document that indicates our intent for your child. This document is not binding but it does contain important information that future carers may find invaluable—including information about their routine, sensory and motor needs, suitable therapies, treatments, equipment, and the like. This is especially important if your child has significant mobility problems—for instance, if they have cerebral palsy (CP). Common types of CP such as spastic cerebral palsy, athetoid cerebral palsy, and ataxic cerebral palsy may require wheelchairs, medication, therapies for motion issues, and more. Leaving a very clear plan covering your child’s needs will ensure they continue to receive needed care. The list should also contain the contacts of everyone on their medical team. On a separate note, you should also appoint a guardian who will make the best possible decisions for your child if needed.
Protecting Your Child Financially
Depending on your financial situation, there are many steps you can take to ensure they can afford the care they need for the rest of their lives. Speak to your financial advisors about different options—including taking out life insurance and disability insurance (the latter will protect your family should you become disabled and not be able to earn a living). If possible, set up a special needs trust for your child. The latter is a legal arrangement and fiduciary relationship that permits a disabled person to receive income provided by you without reducing the public assistance disability benefits they may be receiving from Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, and the like. The money in this trust is typically used to pay for carers, transportation, medication, therapy, and more. This trust is sometimes referred to as a supplemental needs trust.
Parents with adult children can worry about their financial future and general wellbeing. They can appease their concerns by taking key steps to provide their children with all they will need in the future. Determining the signs that you will be approved for disability and applying for appropriate benefits and starting a trust for one’s child are two important steps to take. A detailed care plan should also be drafted so that children never suffer a break in the care and therapy they need.