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Financial Issues for Grandparents Raising Disabled Grandchildren

June 27, 2013

One of the most stressful issues for a grandparent raising a disabled child is financial assistance. On the popular, author Karen Best Wright reports, “According to my survey, of the 2919 people who answered a question about their biggest issues, 63.9% wrote that financial issues were their biggest  problem.”


Often times, parenting grandparents do not plan for this type of situation. Budgets are important to older adults looking forward to retirement. As a result, these individuals live on fixed incomes and have few options for accessing additional funds.

If you or someone you know is the primary caregiver of a disabled child, it is important to know what financial assistance is available through government entities. Also, anticipate unexpected expenses and properly plan for these situations. Ultimately, there is a solution for alleviating the financial burden of raising a disabled child – and it may be more fun than you think.

As primary caregiver, a grandparent can experience a lot of stress when thinking of how to financially provide for a disabled child. Thankfully, support and solutions are within reach.

Financial Assistance from Government

One of the first realizations grandparents face when looking for government assistance is that there is not a lot of help.  In fact, available funds seem downright dismal (especially to a primary caregiver who does not have full custody). This small amount of money may only be helpful in securing clothing, food, and transportation.

However, raising a disabled child ensures some financial protection from government in forms of the disability tax credit and RDSP. It is also important to be aware of what medical expenses may be covered through various programs and charities.

Still, none of these options fully cover daily expenses.

Preparing for Increased Daily Expenses

Food, clothing, and medical bills are apparent costs of raising a disabled child. But some additional costs ought to be considered as well. Here are a few examples of bills that can catch grandparents by surprise:

– Paying a sitter/ caregiver/ daycare
– Extra money spent on fuel and transportation
– Toys, entertainment, and structured activities that help a child learn, grow, and occupy his or her time
– Additional therapies and disability assistance not included in traditional medical expenses

The Best Solution is to Get Creative

Not many older adults envision spending the last years of health and vitality working. As a primary caregiver to a disabled child, however, this tends to be the only option. If a regular day job or career position does not offer enough support, there are other ways to supplement an income.

What types of skills can earn extra money?

– Clean houses
– Cook and cater
– Offer household maintenance jobs
– Run errands for elderly neighbors
– Make crafts and sell them at trade shows or online

Providing services and selling products can be a great way to earn extra cash and as a result, make ends meet.

Ultimately, if you are a grandparent raising a disabled child, financial pressure may be an everyday stress. Know that there are ways to alleviate these money burdens. In addition to using your skills to earn money, let people know about your situation. Band together with friends and other grandparents in your situation to expose this growing community need; rally support and host fundraisers.

It is overwhelming to think about carrying the financial weight of raising a disabled child by yourself. Think creatively about how to solve this problem. Be prepared. And, unfortunately, don’t expect the government to provide much assistance. It is on you to come up with means to support your grandchild. You can do it.

*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.

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