The reality of supporting a child with special needs is that care, support, and education over the course of the child’s lifetime are expensive. While the government will assist families with the basic level of service to the child, parents who want a higher level of care often have to pay out of pocket for related expenses. For this reason, parents of special needs children should consider developing a financial plan to support their child throughout their lives.

While many are familiar with financial planning for retirement or college expenses, financial planning for special needs care is far more complicated. The expense of care over a lifetime can be hard to estimate and even once a financial plan is created, it should be revisited regularly to take into consideration unforeseen expenses or changes in regulations affecting benefits for people with special needs. A properly managed financial plan is necessary for parents to support their child all the way through to adulthood. Parents can use a variety of strategies as part of their special needs care plan including Special Needs Trusts and high coverage life insurance policies.

Equally important to the financial vehicles used for saving are managing the costs of education and care for individuals with special needs. High quality, private schools specializing in the education of children and adults with special needs often come with high annual tuitions. Some can exceed $100,000 per year based on the level of care required. Even for care and education well below those levels, expenses add up quickly and can be overwhelming for families that do not spend time regularly evaluating their financial plan. With so many unknowns surrounding the care of a child with special needs, a robust financial plan will alleviate much of the stress on families as they plan for their future.