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The Financial Impact of Raising a Disabled Child

financial impact of disabilities

Everyone knows that it’s expensive to raise a child, but for parents who have a child with a disability, that expense can be far greater. Consider the following:

“A 2008 study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Material Hardship in U.S. Families Raising Children with Disabilities shows that children with disabilities are significantly more likely to live in families that are considered to be poor. In fact, the study found that 28% of U.S. children with disabilities lived below the federal poverty threshold, as contrasted with 16% of children without disabilities.” Source: UNC Chapel Hill, Material Hardship in U.S. Families Raising Children with Disabilities
According to the study, children with a disability are nearly two times as likely to live in poverty as children without a disability. This is a startling statistic!

These findings highlight the need for increased financial literacy among families caring for a disabled individual to help combat some of these harsh realities. Lack of financial literacy is a growing and threatening problem for every income group in our society, but especially for those who may be more vulnerable. While most Americans think they are adequately planning for their current and future financial needs, recent data indicates otherwise. Studies show:

  •  40% of Americans say they live beyond their means.
  •  Between 25 million and 56 million adults are unbanked (i.e. not using mainstream, insured financial institutions).
  •  The average household with debt carries approximately $10,000 to $12,000 in total revolving debt and has 9 credit cards.
  •  More than 9 in 10 adults and students believe it is important for the people of the United States to have a good understanding of economics. However, only half of high school students say they have been taught economics in school.
  •  In 2005, savings rates dipped to minus 0.5 percent, something that hasn’t happened since the Great Depression in 1932 and 1933. A negative savings rate means that Americans spent all their disposable income and dipped into past savings or increased their borrowing.

The bottom line is that if you are caring for a child or family member with a disability you need to have all the support you can get – financially and in every other way. Get help learning as much as you can about managing your finances and making wise money choices. Make sure you find all the available resources in your city and state, and be sure that you are getting all the benefits available to you – benefits.gov is a great place to start.

If you need someone to talk to about your financial situation, one of CESI’s certified financial counselors can be a fantastic free resource for you! Give us a call today.

Image Source: http://workerslawwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Disability.jpg

Filed Under: Family, Featured

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Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.

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