Financial Planning and Assistance for Families with Special Needs
When you have a family member with special needs, financial planning is vital. Be prepared to take good care of your family member by tackling the money issues today.
Military OneSource is here to help you—with special needs financial planning, issues like disability tax credits, Supplemental Security Income and much more.
How to start your financial plan
While every family should have a financial plan for the future, with a family with special needs it's even more important. When setting up your plan, ask yourself:
- Will my family member need continued care throughout his or her life?
- How will his or her support needs change over time?
- What large or out-of-pocket expenses do we need to be prepared to face?
- Who will care for my family member if I am no longer able? What kind of financial resources will be necessary?
- How should I include my family member with special needs in my estate planning?
Need help with your plan?
Setting up a good plan can be demanding. There's a lot to consider. For example, if you leave assets worth more than $2,000 to a family member with a disability, you could disqualify him or her from government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. But you do have experts available to help at no cost:
- Meet with a Military OneSource special needs consultant for assistance with questions related to finances, education, care and more.
- Check out the Exceptional Family Member Program's Estate Planning online course. Discover how to set up a special needs trust.
- Contact the Exceptional Family Member Program on your installation.
Credits and programs for families with special needs
Your family may qualify for certain tax credits, deductions and be eligible for federal programs. Get details on our Special Needs Benefits page.
Military OneSource provides year-round access to tax consultants who can help maximize your refund.
- Eligible dependents: You may be able to claim your family member as a dependent regardless of age.
- Child and dependent care expenses: Do you pay for child or dependent care so you can work or look for work? You may be eligible for a credit of up to 35 percent of your expenses.
- The Earned Income Tax Credit: A credit on behalf of a family member who is permanently and totally disabled.
- Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled: If you or your family member are retired, on permanent and total disability, and under age 65, you may qualify for this credit.
- Medical and dental expenses: You may be able to deduct some expenses, depending on how much you spend on medical care, equipment, supplies, etc.
- Adoption credits: If you have adopted a child with special needs, you may be eligible 1) for a credit and 2) to exclude employer-provided adoption benefits from your income.
Federal programs: Learn more about whether you qualify by contacting a special needs specialty consultant at Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.
- Supplemental Security Income, or SSI: Money for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter for people with disabilities, who have little or no income.
- Title V programs: State programs with direct, personal health care services to improve the quality of health care for children with special needs.
- Fair Housing Act: In privatized housing on military installations, property managers are required to make reasonable alterations at no cost to the tenant.
- Social Security Disability Insurance: Provides supplemental income to people who can't get or keep a job because of a disability.
- Medicaid and Medicare for families with special needs: Basic health and long-term care services for eligible people including individuals with disabilities, in families with low income and limited resources.
Facing financial challenges? Here are some sources for help
The best way to address money issues is to get ahead of them. If you see a need for assistance on the horizon, here are some places to turn for assistance:
- TRICARE Debt Collection Assistance Officers. TRICARE regional offices can help with resolving health care collection-related issues and are located at military treatment facilities. Or visit the Customer Service Community Directory to find a Debt Collection Assistance Officer.
- Military Aid Societies. These private, nonprofit organizations support each of the services by providing emergency financial assistance in the form of interest-free loans and grants. Visit the Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society or Coast Guard Mutual Assistance websites for more information.
- Social Security Administration. Use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool to find out if you qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration.