Each child is special and unique, with their own talents and challenges. Caring for a special needs child presents different challenges that may take time to adjust to. In Maryland, parents of special needs children can take advantage of several resources to help provide the best possible care for their children.
Understanding a special needs child
The state defines special needs children as those who require ongoing medical or educational services because of physical or mental disabilities. These can range from mild learning issues to major physical impairments that prevent them from leading normal lives without daily assistance.
The U.S. government provides a range of special needs support programs in Maryland. These include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicaid and Medicare. The state also provides additional services through the Maryland Children’s Health Program, which offers medical benefits for qualifying families with special needs children.
Each program has its own eligibility requirements. For instance, SSI requires that the special needs child must have a condition that has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year or result in death.
Special needs planning is essential when creating your family’s estate plans. It can include setting up a special needs trust (SNT), insurance, ABLE accounts and planning for guardianship, among other things.
SNT can help you pay for things that the government programs don’t cover – for example, travel or therapeutic activities. An ABLE account allows you to put away money for your child’s future without affecting eligibility for government benefits.
You may need a guardian if you or your partner is no longer able to care for your special needs child. This person will be responsible for managing the child’s affairs and ensuring that their health and safety are not compromised.
Finally, insurance coverage is essential for protecting your family against risks that may arise. It includes disability income insurance, long-term care insurance and life insurance.
Raising a special needs child is a unique challenge that requires extra resources and care. Fortunately, Maryland offers several programs and services that can help parents provide the best possible life for their children.