Raising a child isn’t cheap. For parents of children with disabilities, the costs rise, even quadrupling the average. For example, some estimates for the lifetime cost of raising a child with autism can be between $1.4 and $2.4 million. The costs of raising a child with multiple complications can be even higher.
This is often the case for children with cerebral palsy, which can cause several different disabilities and associated conditions. Parents must begin planning immediately to ensure their child will receive a lifetime of adequate care. These are the steps you need to take to plan for your child’s future.
Evaluate Your Child’s Future Needs
Cerebral palsy is a complex, highly variable group of disabilities. Some people with CP have barely noticeable symptoms while others require 24-hour care and are intellectually disabled.
To plan ahead parents must carefully evaluate their child's needs and limitations and try to project those into the future. Will your child be able to work and live independently? Or will they need care for life?
It’s not possible to know exactly what your child’s needs will be in the future, but your doctors and specialists can give you a good idea. It’s not easy to reflect on these limitations now, but doing so allows you to save enough to provide the best care throughout their life.
Saving is important for everyone, but it is critical for a child who depends on medical care and other services to live and thrive. Start putting money aside on a regular basis to save up for the future. Take an honest look at your finances and spending to find areas where you can cut back and add to savings for your child.
Seek a Settlement
Cerebral palsy often results from medical malpractice. For instance, if your child suffered brain damage during labor and delivery, it could have been due to a doctor’s or nurse’s. They could be considered negligent and legally liable.
Talk to a lawyer experienced with these situations to determine if you have a case to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This can be an important component of the savings you put away to provide for your child’s medical care and other needs, now and in the future.
Create a Trust
A trust to hold all the money you save for your child is one of the most important things you can do for their financial security. A special needs trust is a place to save money you set aside or that your child receives as gifts or from settlements. The trust is secure and does not necessarily impact your child’s ability to benefit from Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and other government resources.
Create a Will and Name a Guardian
No parent wants to think about this worst case scenario, but if you die before your child is an adult or if they are never able to live independently, you need to be prepared. Work with a lawyer experienced in working with families of special needs children to write a will that takes into account everything they will need for the future.
Include the designation of one or more guardians to ensure your child has some one to care for them and make decisions. Take care choosing the guardian and be sure they are willing and up to the taking on this responsibility.
Plan for Your Child’s Adulthood with CP
It’s easy to remain focused on your child’s present needs, but it is important to plan for their transition to adulthood.
Cerebral palsy can cause physical, medical, and intellectual limitations, but disabilities associated with CP vary widely. They also change with treatments, so it’s important to frequently adjust your expectations of what your child’s adulthood will look like.
This allows you to plan for things like attending college with accommodations, vocational training and job placement, or finding a full-care facility if your child will never be independent.
Consult with Professionals
Working with legal and financial professionals is an added expense, but worth the costs. They can help you save, get more benefits, and find additional resources you didn’t know to access. Planning for your child’s care is complicated, and they will benefit from the advice and guidance of experienced pros.
Learning that a child has CP and will live with disabilities can be devastating for parents, but it doesn’t mean your child won’t have a good quality of life. Learn more about your child’s needs and plan for their future to ensure they enjoy life to the fullest.
For more information and resources on CP, visit https://www.cerebralpalsyguidance.com