The Financial Cost To Raising A Child With Down Syndrome
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the cost of raising a typical child to the age of 18 is roughly $240,000, which is certainly a lot of money, but let’s take a closer look if you have a child with a disability.
For families that have a child with developmental or intellectual disabilities, the lifetime of expenses to care for that child is enormous. Children with special needs often have medical, therapeutic, pharmaceutical, respite, and caregiver expenses that go far beyond what families can afford. Not to mention time off work to care for them or possibly not working at all. The costs of raising a child with special needs can vary dramatically depending on the disability and the severity of the disability.
The most recent study found that people affected by disabilities will spend around $10,000 annually in out-of pocket costs just for medical services. Many turn to second mortgages, home equity loans, credit cards, and even tap into their retirement funds to find the money wherever they can get it, so that they can provide their child with the services they need to live a “quality of life”.
Of course, every disability presents it’s own special circumstances, so the need for therapies may be different for every family. But when looking at these costs, know that parents may take their children at least once per week, and sometimes up to three times per week for therapies, for them to be effective. So here are costs annually for patients not covered by health insurance:
- Speech Therapy: averages between $100-250 per session once a week ($13,000 annually based off $250 rate)
* Speech is usually not covered by insurance companies for developmental delays
- Physical Therapy: about $50-350 per session once a week ($5,200 annually based off $100 rate)
- OccupationalTherapy: about $50-400 per hour once a week ($7,800 annually based off $150 rate)
For parents of children with Down syndrome, these costs could potentially last a lifetime or at least up until they transition out of the educational system. Like all parents, parents of children with Down syndrome want their children to reach their highest potential, live productive lives, and be happy!
So how do parents offset these costs? Some can go through government and state assistance programs, however, not all those who could use the benefits may qualify. Due to a child’s needs, he or she may qualify for Medicaid. Depending on their income, some families can apply for Social Security Insurance.
Beyond federal and state benefits, there are often national and community-based non-profits, like Special & Determined that can assist families of children with Down syndrome.