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The cost of caring for an adult with special needs

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2020 | Guardianships & Conservatorships |

Living with and caring for an adult with special needs comes with a wealth of emotional benefits. The love and care you show, and the bond with that individual, can be enriching parts of any adult’s life.

Because of this, it can be all the more jarring when you stop to consider the financial commitment required to provide just the basics. Navigating these monetary waters is one of the toughest responsibilities any caregiver will take on.

Calculating the cost

Proper planning can alleviate many long-term financial pressures. But for individuals caring for an adult with a disability, the cost can be sky-high. One family estimated they needed $3 million to ensure their son, who has autism, would be cared for throughout his entire life.

More and more families are facing this type of situation. As Independent Lens noted in a report, health care advances have allowed all individuals, including those with special needs, to live long lives.

Caregivers often take on the financial brunt of their loved one’s needs, with one survey finding about half spent more than $5,000 a year on out-of-pocket costs, beyond services already covered. In addition, many caregivers struggle to speak with their other family members about how to actually pay for care.

These factors paint a clear picture: Sound financial planning is a tall order for anyone in this situation. But it is not impossible.

Considering potential strategies

Getting a firm handle on the precise long-term cost of care for an adult with special needs may not be feasible. However, there are plenty of steps you can take to put yourself in an advantageous financial situation, one that sets up a loved one to be comfortable and healthy long into the future. This can include:

  • A special needs trust
  • An ABLE account
  • Legal guardianship
  • An income trust
  • A detailed life care plan
  • Proactive use of a Medicare set-aside account

When these types of tools are employed in concert with available public benefits, caregivers can rest a little easier knowing the financial piece of the puzzle fits comfortably into the larger picture.