This is a guest post from Arlene Chandler writes about life cover from Suncorp and ways to help people navigate through the depths of parenting.

Being the mother of a special needs child is a situation with added complexity, particularly for those women that are in the role of a single parent.  If you’re a mother in this situation, one of the many positive aspects is that being the parent of a young person with special needs can be the most rewarding experience in life. Not only do you get to craft the best existence possible for your child, but you get to see your true colors shine through as a caretaker.

One aspect of having a child with special needs as a single parent is that you have to be realistic, and part of doing so is understanding that finances are a large factor in your situation. Below are some of the ways that your costs could vary from the norm and a couple specific approaches to alleviate financial pressures and set your child up for the life he or she deserves.


Additional Costs of Having a Child With Special Demands

Children are expensive to raise and it’s in every parent’s best interest to acknowledge that early on. It’s not going to be cheap, particularly in the case of a special needs child. The good news is that the monetary obstacles are very manageable to overcome with the right resources and support systems. Some ideas to consider with regards to your child and the associated costs of their upbringing:

  • Any type of specialized therapy can be expensive, depending on what type of insurance you carry
  • Rehabilitation, whether mental or physical, can be pricey both long term and short term
  • Oftentimes special needs children have a higher chance of running into health issues, thus leading to frequent costly medical care
  • Specialized educational tracks can increase learning expenses
  • The costs continue further into life than they normally would

Bottom line: Studies have shown that over 90% of families with a special needs child face higher annual financial liability. These listed cost ideas are just a brief overview to help you view your situation with relation to your income and outgoing expenses. The only conclusion from this percentage is that you need to be more organized, not to have more money.

 Straight Forward Ways to Help Yourself

1.      Hire a special needs planner

Special needs planners usually come in the form of a lawyer. If you are in need of someone to directly help you establish the appropriate trust and financial plan, one of these planners is nearly mandatory. They can ease the numbers game involved with being a special needs parent, which allows you to focus more on the human-to-human care. There are resources and information available at the National Alliance of Mental Illness website. While we know that “special needs” can mean a variety of things, this website offers options for certain situations.

Legal counsel can always help in sticky financial situations. This one is no different! Don’t put too much of a burden on yourself and seek professional advice for certain decisions.

2.      Initiate a special needs trust or protected fund

It’s common for parents to initiate investment funds or trusts for their immediate family and relatives. This is even more important for you as the mother of a special needs child.  These are similar in functionality to a living trust in the way that they enable you to control where your resources go both before and after your death. Additional benefits in many places:

       Your child can often still qualify for government assistance

       Regardless if you become involved with another or a first partner, any divorce or legal issue will not influence your special needs trust (SNT)

A fund tailored specifically to your situation is the goal at this step of your organization. This can literally take your child’s life to a whole new level down the road.

3.      Hand pick a guardian and a trustee

As the mother, you’re the iconic figure that your child looks up to for care and love. This is the reason that picking a guardian and trustee is so significant in your situation. Take your time and properly assess your situation and those close to you. Some thoughts to consider:

       Strongly consider those that know both you, your child and the situation

       Not exclusively by any stretch, but the person you zero in on should be reasonably comfortable financially

       Base your search on those that show care and affection in everything they do

Picking a guardian and a trustee is essentially choosing the people that will perform your role if and when you aren’t able to. This is one of the most momentous decisions that you can make with relation to finances and your child’s life. Don’t fret too much during the decision, but do your best to relax and base your choice on comfort and familiarity.

Being a parent of a single child, specifically a single mother, is a challenge that you’re almost forced to embrace on a daily basis. You are the most important caretaker that your child could ever dream of, and part of that role includes paying for and making decisions about large-scale expenses. The positive news is that with organization and the ideal support group, you’ll make it happen.


Arlene Chandler writes about life cover from Suncorp and ways to help people navigate through the depths of parenting.


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