5 Ways A Special Needs Family Can Save Money
Special needs are often synonymous with expensive needs. Children with special needs may need extra medical attention, private tutors, therapies and medications. Caring for a child with special needs can cause some serious financial difficulties. Many parents ask themselves how they can afford to pay for the services and materials that their child needs.
There are some prudent ways to effectively cut costs without compromising care. Here are five ways parents of a child with special needs may be able to cut costs:
1. Medical Homes
A patient-centered medical home is a treatment strategy that utilizes a team of doctors. Led by one physician, the team aims to provide optimal care for a special needs child by streamlining treatment and reducing overlaps. A 2011 study found that this treatment model reduces out-of-pocket costs by about $100 per year for families with public health insurance. It reduces costs by an average of $200 per year for families with private health insurance.
2. Tax Deductions
With tax season right around the corner, you can start thinking about what deductions you can claim. You can claim medical expenses only if they exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. However, you may be able to claim other costs related to your child’s condition.
You may be eligible for tax deductions on special education programs, transportation costs to and from school and therapy sessions, and exercise programs meant to treat certain conditions. For more information about tax deductions Read 5 Tax Deductions & Credits For Special Needs Families
3. Educate Yourself
Invest in your own education in order to cut costs long term. Attend training sessions to learn tips and tricks for caring for your child’s special needs. By attending seminars or becoming active in online communities, you may be able to absorb information from other parents. If you broaden your skills and receive training, it can reduce your long-term costs by reducing your need for aid at home. You may also learn about simple games or toys that can substitute for expensive gadgets.
4. Make Friends
Become friendly with the parents of your child’s classmates. Other parents with special needs children will be able to lend invaluable moral support, and you may be able to save money together. Your children might be able to share toys and clothing, especially when one child outgrows items. You might also consider setting up carpools and play dates, saving some money on transportation, babysitters and aides.
5. Cut Unnecessary Treatment
No one would ever suggest that you stop providing treatments for your child if they are helpful or beneficial. However, you can consider cutting treatments that don’t seem to be making a difference.
If your son or daughter has been attending speech or physical therapy sessions, for example, and you’re not noticing any improvement, consider whether the treatment is really worth the time and money. Include the doctor or therapist in the conversation, and discuss your concerns. You may find you can stop an expensive treatment and have more money in your pocket each month.
Balancing Your Families Needs
Your child’s special needs and your family’s finances can feel like a balancing act. You’re probably tempted to put all your money toward your child’s treatment and education, but you shouldn’t leave the rest of your family with nothing. Understand what’s worth the cost and what’s not.
Make sure you can pay for your family’s necessities, like a mortgage and groceries. You should also manage your finances and consider aiming to work up an emergency fund for unforeseen expenses. While your child’s advancement may be your top priority, be sure to pay attention to your own needs and the needs of the rest of your family as well.
About the Author:
Katherine Pilnick is a personal finance writer and blogger for Debt.org, a financial help website.