Serving Colorado Families And Businesses With Dignity In Times Of Need

Budget crunch heightens importance of disability planning

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2020 | Guardianships & Conservatorships |

For parents of adult children with special needs, long-term security is often an ongoing worry. You want to make sure your child receives the proper health care, assistance with daily life and financial support – not just right now, but for many years to come.

Special needs planning provides families clear solutions and peace of mind. An ongoing services shortage coupled with an abrupt budget crunch make proactive planning more vital than ever.

An unexpected budget crisis upends ambitious plans

The Medicaid waiver programs for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities have long been in demand. Back in 2014, there were nearly 11,000 children and adults facing an average wait time of 15 years for certain waivers, according to a Colorado Sun report.

Colorado lawmakers vowed to do something about it, and in the subsequent years, many applicants saw progress. The backlog and average wait time both shrank significantly.

As 2020 began however, there were still about 3,000 people left in the lurch. At the capitol, lawmakers laid out ambitious plans to finally address the backlog, once and for all.

An unexpected budget crisis flipped the script.

The state had been forecasting a sizeable surplus. Now, officials project a $3 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year. This resulted in significant funding cuts in many areas. The millions of dollars slated to cut down the Medicaid waiver backlog are among the financial casualties, the Denver Post explains.

This means many parents and caregivers that had pinned their future hopes on getting a waiver in the near future may be out of luck. However, that does not mean they are completely out of options.

Planning ahead remains possible – and more vital than ever

Public benefits are often a key part of a family’s disability planning discussions. However, they are not the be-all and end-all. Other public benefits, such as SSI, could potentially be considered. In addition, there are a host of private options that might provide solutions, such as:

  • Long-term care insurance
  • A special needs trust
  • Income trusts
  • Medicare set-aside accounts
  • Third-party discretionary trusts
  • Pooled trusts

These legal tools can generally be customized to fit your specific situation and needs. You do not have to give up on a Medicaid waiver either. While you wait to see what happens with the Medicaid budget and waiver backlog, you can still proceed with confidence in disability planning.

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