While we are not financial planners, or financial advisors, we do have a thorough understanding of the social service system in New Jersey, and the government benefit programs that are available to people with disabilities. We currently work with people with developmental disabilities in developing line item budgets that use state funding, personal income (employment, social security), and family assets to create the necessary resources to live as independent as life, as possible. It is because of this knowledge, that we can be an important resource for families in creating a family financial plan to provide supplemental funding, (usually in the form of a Special Needs Trust), for the family member with a disability.
The fact is, New Jersey's social service system continues to struggle with reduced state and federal revenues. State agencies do not have the funding to provide for all the needs of people with disabilities. Already in New Jersey certain recreation and therapy services are very limited, or not provided for in many residential programs. Other supports, such as, non-group home housing, require participants become eligible for Section 8 rental support. Unfortunately, Section 8 has very long waiting lists. In addition, many landlords do not accept Section 8 vouchers forcing many tenants to rent in areas that are less than desirable.
It is absolutely critical that families take into consideration the limitations of future state and federal funding support when developing a family financial plan that will provide supplemental support for their person with a disability. As with any savings or insurance program the earlier families begin the accumulation process the more time they have to use the benefits of compounded interest to accumulate the resources they need. We often tell families that they must save for the future support needs of their family member with disabilities, just as they would a family member going to college. Of course, any savings or insurance program must be properly owned and managed to not jeopardize government benefits.