Financial Planning For A Child With Special Needs
Raising children involves a fair share of financial planning. Apart from basic needs, parents also need to plan for education, medical, hobbies and other expenses. The financial implications of raising a child with special needs are immense as parents strive to provide the best care and intervention. This could be with buying special equipment the child might need, enrolling for remedial intervention, therapy, other medical help and ensuring their child is cared for in their absence.
While the official figure in the 2011 census put the number of people with disabilities in India at 26.8 million, the estimates a decade later are much higher as reported by certain organizations. As a country we need to work miles on awareness, sensitivity, acceptance and more important disability-friendly infrastructure.
A main concern of parents who have children with special needs is ensuring their care, long term and securing their future. Apart from individual financial planning, certain schemes implemented by the government can also help children with special needs.
Government Schemes and Concessions for People with Disability
In accordance with The Constitution of India and the Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016, there are several government schemes and programmes that can be availed by a person with a disability in India. To avail of almost any of these schemes, it is mandatory to have a disability certificate. We did a bit of research and found that there are many schemes to support parents and families of children with special needs. Depending on the criteria, different children can be eligible for one or multiple aides. Here are a few worth looking at.
The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities
The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities was constituted by the Central Government and set up in the year 2000. The objectives of the Trust is to enable and empower persons with disability, facilitate support to registered organizations, deal with problems of disabled persons who do not have family support, promote measures for their care and protection in the event of loss of parents and guardians, evolve a procedure for appointment of guardians and trustees so that equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation of such persons is ensured. The National Trust has several schemes and programmes available for persons with autism and their families. Some basic information about some of these schemes are detailed below. The details are accessible at www.the national trust.co.in.
Niramaya (Health Insurance Scheme)
This is a unique health insurance scheme for persons with disabilities. This scheme provides comprehensive cover irrespective of the type of disability, without any selection or exclusion criteria of the pre-existing condition. An applicant may receive insurance cover up to Rs. 1 lakh, on reimbursement basis, with a single premium across age bands. Services covered range from regular medical check-ups to hospitalization, therapy to corrective surgery, transportation, repetitive medical intervention as an in-patient, pre & post hospitalization expenses, and cashless hospitalization in empanelled hospitals, reimbursement of claims in case of OPD services and treatment through non-empanelled hospitals. To know more, click here.
Income Tax concessions
Under Section 80U, in case of Person with Disability (at least 40%) deduction of Rs 75,000 /- is allowed. In the case of a Person with a Severe Disability (80% of one or more disabilities) deduction of Rs. 1,25,000/- is allowed.
Under Section 80DD – Deduction of Rs 75,000 (Person with Disability of at least 40%) and Rs 1,50,000 (Person with Disability of 80 % or more) in respect of maintenance including medical treatment of a dependent who is a person with a disability.
Railways allow disabled persons to travel at concession fares up to 75% in the first and second classes. Escorts accompanying blind, orthopedically and mentally handicapped persons are also eligible to up to 75% concession in the basic fare. Submission of disability certificate may be required.
Hotel Discounts :
All India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) hotels in India offer 50% discount on room rent, and do not charge extra for the accompanying person / attendant i.e. 50% on single room tariff for double room. In addition, there is a 30% discount on food on the a-la-carte menu. It would be necessary to carry a disability certificate to the hotel.
Personal Financial Planning :
All parents work and save up for their retirement and to ensure the financial security for their children until they are adults and become financially independent. However, with a child with special needs, depending on the severity of the disability, parents might need to ensure a longer period of financial security that well extends to their child’s late adulthood. A primary concern of parents is worrying about who will care for their child once they are gone.
Accumulating savings, availing various concessions and tax benefits are some of the ways parents can work on building a fund and ensure long-term care for their child. Although many children with special needs can go on to live independent lives, some with severe disabilities may not have the capacity to make financial decisions. In such cases, it is important to appoint a well trusted guardian who can care for the child in the absence of their parents.
Some children might need to be placed in a care facility, again which can be expensive.
Starting early and making the right financial decisions can help secure your child’s future. We hope this article has been helpful and given you a glimpse into planning right for your child’s future.
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