Special Needs Financial Planning | Age 14
Shepherd Financial Partners is an independent, full-service financial and wealth management practice. Our goal is to provide you with superior, comprehensive financial and wealth management services in the context of a personal, long-term commitment.
Shepherd Financial Partners is an independent, full-service financial and wealth management practice. Our goal is to provide you with superior, comprehensive financial and wealth management services in the context of a personal, long-term commitment.
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Age 14

Age 14.

 

Say “Hello” to Transition.

 

It is never too early or too late to start planning for the future.

 

Now is the time to plan for your child’s transition from adolescence to adult life. The focus now shifts from supporting your child in school to helping him or her to achieve the greatest possible level of independence. At this point it is important to maximize the entitlements of education to provide opportunities for vocational exploration, daily living skills, and independence.

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View "Basic Steps of Special Needs Financial Planning"

Yes, Please!

UNIQUE PLANNING REQUIREMENTS

  • Your child’s abilities may be more defined by this stage and you may be able to have a glimpse of his/her future abilities as well.
  • Now begins the time to explore options and alternatives for when your child turns age 22 (or the age upon which your state no longer provides public education services). This is called “Transition Planning”. Ask your school system to provide you with information about residential and vocational opportunities after school.
  • Consider hiring a facilitator to run a “person-centered plan” for your child to assist in planning for life after school, to brainstorm different goals, hobbies and work opportunities.
  • Obtain eligibility information for any and all government agencies in your state that may potentially provide funding and services for your child at age 18 and after turning age 22.
  • Interview and ultimately identify the most appropriate agency to provide residential and/or vocational services for your child’s abilities and likes. Vocational services may also mean a day program for your child to attend – again depending upon their abilities.
  • If you feel that your child will not be able to make decisions on his her own behalf, you should consider the possibility of filing for guardianship or alternatives to guardianship upon their attainment of age 18. See the chapter on Guardianship and less restrictive alternatives.
  • Prepare your child to financially qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid eligibility. This means that assets in his/her name or custodial accounts should be less than $2,000 (2005 asset limits).
  • In the event that your child’s assets are in excess of $2,000 and they would not financially qualify for SSI and/or Medicaid, you should contact a CFP® and an attorney knowledgeable in government benefits eligibility to discuss options of spending down the assets or transferring them to a Special Needs Trust (OBRA ’93 Payback Trust) or ABLE account prior to applying for benefits.
  • Assess your overall financial situation to help determine your ability to achieve your financial goals – including college funding for other children, financial requirements to fund your child’s supplemental needs, and your own retirement goals(first!). Review your estate planning documents to be mindful of estate tax planning considerations, ownership and beneficiary designations of assets, retirement plans, and life insurance policies.
  • Talk to your other children about your plans and your vision for your child with special needs. They may have input to share as well.
  • Begin nurturing your TTCO™ (Team to Carry On). Communicate with extended family members, i.e. grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other friends and relatives that may be interested in transferring wealth to you and your child that you are in the process of planning for your child’s future security.
  • This is the ideal stage to begin planning for the future for your child. You still have time to make changes and to explore options if you have not done so already.

Special Needs Planning Story

INDIVIDUAL CASE STUDY

My daughter Janet is 15 years old.  She has received home health services since she was 10 years old.  Janet has a wheelchair, which allows her to get around, and although she can understand me, she has trouble expressing herself verbally.  My husband and I are finding it difficult to physically transfer her on a day-to-day basis because we need a second person to assist.  The home health agency cannot meet the schedule that was agreed upon.  Furthermore, the aides do not have the necessary training to teach Janet how to be as independent as possible. 

 

When I talked to a staff person at our local chapter of The Arc, she told me about the Medicaid personal care attendant (PCA) program.  I learned that the family (or the individual) hires the staff person and that they can directly negotiate hours. In this case, since Janet is not able to supervise the attendant, I as her parent would serve as a surrogate supervisor of the PCA.  Another benefit is that the PCA , although hired to assist Janet, may also be able to help her to become more independent.  The only stipulation is that if Janet does get the PCA services, she will have to give up the home health program.

 

I went through the paperwork to get Janet her PCA services Only to receive a rejection based upon the fact that she is under 18 years of age.  When I shared this news with a staff person at The Arc, she gave me the name of a parent using the PCA program, as well as the phone number of a law center that is working on improving access to services.  Not wanting to rock the boat, however, I decided to wait for the service and make due with the home health program.

 

After 4 more weeks of unfilled aide hours and missed classes for Janet because I cannot get her out of bed when my husband is away on business, I finally called the disability law center and the other family who has a minor receiving PCA services.  When I found out that Janet could be served though the PCA program, I got up the courage to appeal the rejection of our application.  It took me 4 months, but Janet is now receiving PCA services.  My life is so much easier…. –Janet’s Mother

READING ROOM

Below are a few articles relating to planning for your child at this stage.  For more information visit  WHAT WE’RE SAYING.

  • Friendship is for Everyone

    Friendship is for Everyone

    VIEW MORE
  • FAQs : Funding a Special Needs Trust

    FAQs : Funding a Special Needs Trust

    VIEW MORE
  • Guardianship Considerations for Individuals with Disabilities

    Guardianship Considerations for Individuals with Disabilities

    VIEW MORE

1 There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

2   Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.