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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

Educational savings considerations for children with disabilities

Loving parents want their children to have every advantage. Helping a child with a developmental disability get a quality education raises unique challenges that other parents do not have to face.

While a college fund may seem like an excellent idea when a child is very young, parents must keep a few crucial details in mind.

Benefiting from 529 plans

The high cost of college tuition is a burden for many families. The price can be even greater when a family has a child with a disability. In addition to the typical costs of a college education, a student may have additional expenses for tutoring, special equipment and transportation costs.

The government allows parents to save money for a child’s education tax-free in a 529 plan. The funds are available for qualified education expenses, including tuition, room and board, books and other necessary fees. Recent adjustments allow parents to use the finances for private school tuition.

Maintaining Supplemental Security Income eligibility

The government provides SSI for people with disabilities who have not worked enough to receive Social Security Disability Insurance. If an individual with a disability earns more than the current limits or has too many assets, SSI benefits go away.

A family can protect a child’s eligibility for government benefits, such as SSI, by having a parent or family member be the account holder for the 529 plan. The parents then list the child as the beneficiary and can use the fund for educational costs. In some cases, a parent can roll money over into an ABLE account.

Saving for a child’s future is daunting, but the eventual results make the effort worthwhile. By setting up a 529 plan or trust account correctly, families can ease future financial burdens.


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