If you are the caretaker for a disabled family member, planning for his or her future weighs heavily on your mind. How will your loved one manage on his/her own? You want to set aside a sizable investment without compromising your child’s benefits. Yes, the tangled web of investment planning and government regulations must be carefully navigated.
CBC News recently highlighted the case of a mother who tried to responsibly plan a better future for her daughter with cerebral palsy. Daughter Sarah was subsequently denied government benefits because of an inaccessible trust account in her name. What an unfortunate circumstance! Thank you, Davidsons, for going public with your personal story so we can effect change on government policies.
Nathan Leibowitz, Senior Investment Advisor at Manulife Securities decries the situation, calling the Davidson fiasco a “sad outcome.” The social solidarity program, explains Leibowitz, is a last resort financial assistance program and leaves limited alternatives for parents to help their disabled children. “You always want to ensure that the documentation setting up the trust is adhering to current regulations. For smaller amounts, the RDSP is sometimes a better option than a trust. In any case, you always want to create an alternative plan, a plan that will ensure the child is taken care of long-term.”
Meet with an advisor you trust, someone who is familiar with the government regulations for disability benefits and the ins and outs of financial planning. With an experienced financial planner, you can avoid the pitfalls that others have fallen into. There are many ways to maximize your benefits. Educate yourself and keep abreast of the changing regulations. And in the meantime, let’s lobby the government to make the necessary changes for investment resource requirements. Saving for your disabled child’s future should be simple and straightforward.
Here’s to a better future! Good luck!