Financial planning for a child with epilepsy
When you have a child with a seizure disorder, it is important to consider certain issues, take certain steps, and have certain papers ready.
Talking to an employer
Your child’s seizure disorders may mean extra days off for medical examinations and visits. Your employer may ask why you are away so often. You may want to speak to your employer about your child’s illness. In addition, certain programs, such as the Family and Sick Leave Act, only apply if your employer has been informed of your family’s circumstances.
Family and Sick Leave Act
The Family and Sick Leave Act requires employers with 50 or more employees to give eligible workers who can cope with certain family or medical situations up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. If you use this leave to care for a loved one during a serious illness, you can take the leave in small increments or in full.
To be entitled to vacation, an employee must:
- have worked for an insured employer (usually a “covered” employer means a private sector employer; most government employees are not eligible for the Family and Sick Leave Act)
- Worked a total of 12 months
- You have worked more than 1,250 hours in the past 12 months. To be covered by the law, you must tell your employer about your child’s (or your or your spouse’s) seizure disorders.
- If you change jobs, make sure that your child (and your whole family) has continuous health insurance.
- If you have a child who doesn’t have a health insurance plan, check out your state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP helps children up to 18 years of age without health insurance. It is designed for children whose parents have too high incomes to qualify for Medicaid but too low to be able to afford private health insurance. Each state operates its own CHIP and determines eligibility.
Of course, you want to be there to see your child grow up. But life is uncertain. That is why life insurance is important. The money from a life insurance policy can go a long way in helping the dreams you have for your child come true, even when you are not around.
If your employer covers your only life insurance, consider a private policy. You likely need more life insurance than your employer offers.
Your will determines how – and to whom – your wealth will be distributed. You also use your will to appoint a guardian for your minor children. If you die without a will, your state will determine who will take care of your children. A lawyer specializing in inheritance law should help you draft your will.
Trust for special needs
A special or supplementary fund offers a way to ensure the performance of your child and at the same time to cater for additional needs that are not covered by the government.
A special needs trust allows a trustee to pay for items and services that are beyond what the government provides. For example, if your child’s television breaks down, the trustee could buy a new one. A fund can pay for anything from baseball games and films to private rehabilitation.
To create a special needs trust, do the following:
- Review all records listing your child as a beneficiary. These can be life insurance, retirement accounts and savings accounts.
- Change the beneficiary’s name from your child’s name to the Foundation for Special Needs. In this way, the trust inherits the property and is not counted as income when determining whether your child is eligible for government benefits.
- Work with a qualified lawyer. This is a complicated area of the law and you will need an expert to get the trust set up properly.