Updated: Mar 9
Your child’s transition from adolescent to adult life is also the point in time where the state no longer provides public education services. This period of your child’s life can introduce a whole new level of responsibility to you as a parent, but you don’t have to be blindsided by these new changes. Here are some things to look out for:
Ask your school for vocational and residential opportunities for your child.
Search for any local government agencies that provide funding for children 18 to 22.
Based on child’s level of function, consider filing for guardianship.
Prepare your child for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid by making sure they have less than $2,000 in cash assets.
Create a Budget for Unexpected Costs
You will also need to create a budget for unexpected costs and accommodations for your child. These may include:
Legal and financial services
Routine costs (such as home modifications or specialized daycare)
Any other unexpected costs
It’s difficult to know exactly how much you’ll need from the outset, so you will have to rely on estimates. The best way to structure a realistic budget is to add up your estimated costs, keeping in mind that some healthcare costs are not covered by services like Medicaid or even private insurance.
For this reason, you should design your budget to cover more than you think you’ll need. This way you will be prepared when you are surprised with steep out-of-pocket expenses.
Reassess Your Finances
At this point, you should also reassess your own financial goals. Are you taking care of other children? Can you afford their college tuition? It can be difficult to juggle the costs of raising a child with special needs when you have other children to consider as well.
To see where you sit financially, consult the timeline you created for your family. You’ve most likely deviated from that plan a bit, which is normal. If this is the case, review where you derailed from your plan. What, if anything, would you do differently? How can you be better prepared if you encounter a similar situation? In the end, you just need to make sure you’re sticking to your long-term financial goals. Have a plan, even if you can’t stick to it as rigidly as you would like.
Preparing a sound financial foundation for your family is a lifelong commitment. The only way to truly prepare for all of the curveballs in raising a child with a disability or disorder is to plan a step ahead, as best as you can.