How to Calculate Expenses of Special Needs Child Care?

Quantifying expenses for your special needs child is many a time daunting task. Though most parents have an idea of out of pocket expenses they still need to figure out the expenses for the child separately. Each special needs child poses unique financial circumstances. It’s difficult to be accurate if you are budgeting for the first time.  But that should not deter you to prepare a budget for your special needs childcare. It’s wiser to identify how much you are spending on your childcare so that you can estimate what corpus is required for child lifetime care after you.

It’s difficult to bring any definite guide for identifying expenses for a special needs child. However, we have compiled some of the considerations parents should plan to include in managing their child expenses and monitor it periodically.

Special Child Expense Worksheet

Source: Book “Financial Planing for Special Children Families”

Government Benefits

Though not much can be written on this subject it’s wiser to analyze what government benefits will be available to the special needs child. This may include the health insurance which is available today and where you can claim regular expenses for the child to a certain extent. Apart from this if you are in a government job then you might get some benefits for your child. The objective is to add up all the benefits you may receive and see how it help you in managing expenses for the special needs childcare.

Elements of Monthly Expenses

When you are making a budget for your special needs child then you have to ensure that all elements are covered. Here is a list of expenses for the child whom you should cover and what should be included in it:

  1. Housing Needs: There will be some basic cost of housing which will come with the architecture of the house. However, you may have to account for some additional cost based on the child requirement. This may include the cost of fixtures, furniture or any adaptive appliance. Sometimes the location where you currently stay is not comfortable for your child. Shifting to a comfortable location means your expense may increase. All these costs along with any additional cost which may be part of the child care budget should be included.
  2. Food– Not many parents analyze this separately. But you may be spending additional cost here based on your child requirement. For example, your child may have some food preferences, likes or dislikes. Or your child may have allergic issues due to which you may have to provide some special nutritional food. There may be a situation where your child is going outside for some recreational activities and you may have to arrange food there. All these costs should be added when preparing the expense chart for your special needs childcare.
  3. Health Care – There will be many health costs associated with the child especially in the initial years. Regular visits for checkups, cost for therapies, any surgery, or any other expense will be part of this element. Account for any additional expense you may have to incur for your child health care needs.
  4. Employment– You may have to employ people for your childcare. Therapist, an attendant, housemaids or any other person specifically involved in your childcare should get covered in this element.
  5. Education– The cost of special needs child education may run significant numbers. Once the child is in an adult phase you will have to provide adult level courses. The cost of education at this stage is significant since it will include college fees, tuition fees. Cost of textbooks or any educational material. Add to it the cost of an adaptive and accessible technology along with the transportation and travel cost for child care.
  6. Daily Life Assistance – This element covers the cost of daily assistance for your childcare. The cost of professional to hire, respite care and even the cost for your family member’s time. All such expenses incurred on the care for child personal needs to be factored in here.
  7. Insurance– You may avail insurance for many of the items involved in childcare. Health, Auto or even real estate are quite common but is an outgo from your pocket. Even the adaptive and accessible technologies you may use would require insurance coverage. Add up all such insurances and include in the budget for your child care.
  8. Personal Needs– Clothing needs, eating habits, the need for a telephone, internet, and audio equipment. Broadband, cost of books, magazines, newspapers and website subscriptions all will be an expense for the child.
  9. Social & Recreational Expenses– If the child shows interest in outdoor activities then you will have to budget for such regular expenses. Any club membership, the cost for participation in competition or any other social activity needs to be accounted for in the expense.
  10. Special Equipment’s – Your child situation may demand some additional equipment’s. Any mobility enhancement such as a wheelchair or sensory like hearing aids. Then you may have some special equipment for travel with the child. Any other cost which you may spend on improving the quality of life of the child should be considered.

There is no standard identification of special needs child cost. But if you manage expenses with a list like above It helps you in keeping a track on how much you are spending on your childcare.

About the Author

Jitendra P.S. Solanki

Jitendra is a SEBI Registered Investment Adviser (INA10000184) and has earned the much-respected professional designation of Certified Financial Planner (CFPCM ) and Chartered Trust & Estate Planner (CTEPTM). He is a post graduate from IIT - Roorkee and has spent 15 years in Financial Services Industry working with leading financial institutions & Banks, advising families on their Financial well-being. Jitendra specializes in advising families with special needs children on various financial & legal aspects.

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