What Is Special Needs Planning?


What is special needs planning? Different people have different definitions. We believe the goal and purpose of special needs planning is to assure individuals with physical, cognitive, or developmental impairment a place in the community appropriate to their capabilities, resources, and their needs.

Developing a Comprehensive Plan

Special needs planning is not just about creating legal documents. It’s about developing a comprehensive plan that takes into account all aspects of the individual’s life, including healthcare, education, employment, housing, and social activities, etc. The plan should encompass four elements: the life, resource, financial and legal plans. The plan should be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances and should involve the input and involvement of the individual with disabilities and their caregivers.

Understanding Government Benefits

Individuals with disabilities may be eligible for government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. These benefits provide financial assistance and healthcare coverage, but they also have strict income and asset limits. Special needs planning takes into account these limits and helps to ensure that the individual does not lose eligibility for these benefits.

Creating a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is a legal tool that can be used to protect assets and ensure that the individual with disabilities continues to receive government benefits. Assets placed in a special needs trust can be used to pay for expenses not covered by government benefits, such as education, transportation, and recreational activities.

Planning for Caregiver Support

Caregivers play a critical role in the lives of individuals with disabilities, providing emotional, physical, and financial support. Special needs planning should take into account the needs of caregivers, including financial support, respite care, and legal protections.

Special needs planning involves understanding government benefits, using legal tools such as a special needs trust, planning for caregiver support, and developing a comprehensive plan. Special needs planning can help to ensure that the individual with disabilities receives the care they need while preserving their eligibility for government benefits and protecting their assets. It’s important to work with professionals who specialize in special needs planning to create a plan that meets the individual’s specific needs and goals.