A dramatic increase in the number of adults with developmental disabilities, coupled with their increasing life spans, presents planning challenges for parents.
Special needs families are accustomed to things being more complicated, and retirement planning is no exception. Parents must plan for their own retirement as well as ensure that a plan is in place for the time when the parents are no longer able to care for their special needs child. That includes everything from the basics, like making sure that beneficiary designations are up-to-date, to ensuring that the child’s inheritance does not make the child ineligible for means-tested government benefits.
A recent MarketWatch article, “Parents of special needs children plan for two futures,” says that special needs parents are really planning for two lifetimes. In 2030, there will be approximately 1.2 million adults age 60 and older in the U.S. with developmental disabilities. That’s about twice as many of the 642,000 who fit that profile in 2000, according to 2012 research by the University of Illinois at Chicago. Also, according to the National Down Syndrome Society, today people with Down syndrome have a life expectancy of 60, compared with just 25 in 1983.