FINANCIAL RESOURCES & BENEFITS

Proper financial planning is very important – it is never too early to plan ahead! Creating a financial plan requires you, and your support system, to consider your vision for life when you get older. First, ask yourself these questions:

    • What supports will need to be in place in order for you to have the life you envision in your community?
    • How will you receive needed support?
    • How will the cost for needed support be covered?
    • Where will you live?

Don’t leave out your support system! Picture the involvement of your friends, relatives and service providers as you get older.

“Just as no two faces are alike, so are no two minds alike.”

B. Barakhot 58a

Put Together Your Financial Plan

Estate Planning. This refers to steps individuals or couples take to direct what will happen to their money and other assets after death. One aspect of future planning, this process is helpful for people in all types of financial situations. Most people want to direct how their money or assets will be distributed, minimize taxes as well as choose who will care for their minor children. Your parents may name people who will provide support for you. They may accomplish this by setting up a plan that includes a will, letter of intent, special needs trust and/or other pertinent documents.

Note: Your family should seek an attorney who understands not only estate planning issues but who also is knowledgeable about government benefits and understands the needs of people with disabilities.

Government benefits. Both financial assistance and health care benefits are very important for people with disabilities. Many parents think that they should not leave money to their child with a disability or their child will lose public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Please discuss this with your lawyer, as money left outright to a child could jeopardize benefits if assets are above the statutory threshold.

The fact that someone is receiving benefits should be incentive to begin planning. A plan can ensure that a person keeps needed benefits and is able to use the additional assistance from family to purchase items that government benefits do not cover to enrich his/her quality of life.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (ABLE) states that its purpose is to (1) encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence, and quality of life; and (2) provide secure funding for disability-related expenses of beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) and title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources. For more information, click here.

Note: Discuss this with your lawyer, as money left outright to a child could jeopardize benefits if assets are above the statutory threshold.

Source: Planning Now: A Guide for Parents of Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Local Resources

Agency for Persons with Disabilities
Serves Floridians with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, Spina Bifida, Prader-Willi Syndrome and Phelan-McDermid syndrome. Assists individuals with their application to receive Medicaid Waiver funding. Provides home and community-based services waiver, family and supported living waiver, Consumer Directed Care Plus and living facilities for people with developmental disabilities.

The Florida Department of Children and Families
Determines eligibility and ongoing case management of food assistance (food stamps), temporary cash assistance and Medicaid for families with children or older adults who are blind or disabled.

The Social Security Administration
Manages applications for disabilities (SSI, SSDI). Provides information regarding benefits on a walk-in or appointment basis. Offices located in Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines and Margate.

Goodman Jewish Family Services of Broward County
Joshua’s Path Educational Seminars
Free seminars are specifically designed to provide caregivers and community professionals with the resources and information needed to make life decisions for family members and clients with disabilities. Topics include funding and benefits, navigating social security, legal and financial planning, residential options, vocational training, adult day programming and mental health resources.

0.5M
Americans Live With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
0%
of Children Have Been Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability
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