October is a month filled with vibrant fall colors and a refreshing crisp in the air. But for many parents and caretakers of loved ones with special needs, it's also a time to celebrate an important milestone: National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
As a financial planner who specializes in helping families who have special needs or loved ones with special needs, I am honored to support countless families and individuals in navigating their unique financial paths. Especially during this month, I'd like to emphasize the importance of economic empowerment for individuals with disabilities and highlight some financial considerations you may want to explore.
1. Understanding the Significance of NDEAM
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is more than just an observance; it's a time to recognize the myriad talents and contributions made by individuals with disabilities in the workplace. For families and caretakers, it's also an opportunity to reflect on the potential career paths and employment opportunities available to their loved ones.
2. Financial Planning for a Bright Future
Every person has unique financial needs, and the same applies to your loved one with special needs. Here are a few things you might consider:
Special Needs Trusts*: Setting up a Special Needs Trust can ensure that your loved one has the resources they need without compromising their eligibility for certain government benefits.
ABLE Accounts: ABLE accounts allow individuals with disabilities to save money without
affecting their eligibility for benefits like Medicaid or SSI. They can use these funds for a wide range of qualified expenses, from education to housing.
Life Insurance and Estate Planning*: Proper planning can ensure that your loved one is cared for long after you're gone. Work with a specialist who understands the intricacies of planning for someone with unique medical considerations.
3. Advocacy and Resources
Equip yourself with knowledge. Various organizations and platforms offer resources for both
employment opportunities and financial education tailored for individuals with disabilities:
Disability:IN: This is a leading nonprofit that advocates for disability inclusion worldwide. They provide tools and resources for businesses to advance disability inclusion and equality.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN): JAN offers guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.
4. Celebrate Success Stories
NDEAM is also a time to uplift and spotlight success stories. Encourage local businesses to share stories of employees with disabilities and highlight their achievements. These stories not only inspire others but also help in breaking stereotypes and biases.
5. Continuous Dialogue
Even though October is dedicated to raising awareness about disability employment, the conversations shouldn’t end there. Continue discussing and advocating for inclusion, accessibility, and opportunities throughout the year.
In conclusion, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is an essential reminder that individuals with disabilities have incredible talents, skills, and contributions to offer in the workforce. If you are caretakers/parents, understand that your unwavering support and advocacy can make a significant difference in their lives. While you're celebrating their potential this month, also take a moment to review the financial strategies that can provide them with a prosperous and secure future.
- Chris Ball, ChSNC
*Estate Planning services are provided working in conjunction with your Estate Planning Attorney, Tax Attorney and/or CPA. Consult them for specific advice on legal and tax matters.
As your state may have specialized laws and regulations regarding Special Needs, please consult your own personal attorney or tax counsel for advice on state-specific legal and tax matters.
Chris Ball is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC 330 Whitney Ave # 600, Holyoke, MA 01040 (413) 539-2000. Stalt Financial is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies