The economy can have an effect on every aspect of your life, including your special needs planning. If the parent of an individual with special needs has lost his or her job, it’s important to note the loss of employer provided benefits and how this loss might affect your child with special needs. Health insurance coverage is vital for a child with special needs. 

Loss of benefits can also affect the funding of your special needs plan. In contemplating the assets available to fund the plan, group life insurance coverage is often considered. If your plan is dependent on these benefits in order to reach appropriate levels of funding for your special needs child, you should think about replacing these insurance benefits with a separate policy.

Additionally, as the value of your assets diminishes with the decreasing stock market values, again this can have an effect on funding. The reduction of assets available to fund a plan may require a reconsideration of the allocation of assets as between your child with special needs and other children. A child with special needs may not have the ability to be self-supporting in the future that other children may have.

New Jersey’s residents with special needs will benefit from the new $787 billion stimulus plan, signed by President Obama on February 17th.

New Jersey expects to receive $2.2 billion for its Medicaid program – a program that has been severely stressed as the economy has faltered. According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, Medicaid provides health care to over 1 million people in New Jersey and counting. The first $362 million slated for Medicaid will be paid to New Jersey right away. The rest of the money is expected to flow into New Jersey over the next two years.

Special education in New Jersey is also receiving help from the stimulus package – to the tune of approximately $360 million. Federal support nationwide for special education will grow by $12 billion over a two year period.

Details of how this money will be used is still forthcoming. Governor Corzine recently announced that two members of his administration, Chief of Staff Ed McBride and Comptroller Matt Boxer, will oversee the distribution of this money.