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Financial Planning and Assistance for Families with Special Needs

When you have a family member with special needs, financial planning is vital. Be prepared to take good care of your family member by starting your financial plan today.

Military OneSource is here to help you – with financial planning related to issues like disability tax credits, Supplemental Security Income and much more.

How to start your financial plan

While every family should have a financial plan for the future, it’s even more important for families with special needs. When setting up your plan, ask yourself:

  • Will my family member need continued care throughout his or her life?
  • How will my family member’s support needs change over time?
  • What large or out-of-pocket expenses do we need to be prepared to face?
  • Who will care for my family member if I am no longer able? What kind of financial resources will be necessary?
  • How should I include my family member with special needs in my estate planning?

Need help with your plan?

Setting up a good plan can be demanding. There’s a lot to consider. For example, if you leave assets worth more than a certain amount to a family member with a disability, you could disqualify him or her from government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. But you do have consultants available to help at no cost:

  • Meet with a Military OneSource special needs consultant for assistance with questions related to finances, education, care and more.
  • Contact an Exceptional Family Member Program Family Support provider at your installation.
  • Talk to a special needs consultant for recommendations on setting up an Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, account. ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings and investment accounts for individuals with special needs. You may also want to meet with your installation personal financial management services or legal services to discuss additional options for your plan.
  • Contact TRICARE to see if the Extended Care Health Option, or ECHO, applies to you. TRICARE ECHO provides financial assistance to beneficiaries with special needs for an integrated set of services and supplies.

Credits and programs for families with special needs

Your family may qualify for certain tax credits, deductions and be eligible for federal programs. Get details on our Special Needs Benefits page.

Military OneSource provides year-round access to tax consultants who can help maximize your refund.

Visit for information about disability and earned income tax credits including the following:

The IRS also provides tax information on ABLE accounts, along with other tax highlights for people with special needs.

Federal programs: Learn more about whether you qualify by contacting a special needs specialty consultant at Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.

  • Supplemental Security Income, or SSI
  • Title V programs: State programs with direct, personal health care services to improve the quality of health care for children with special needs.
  • Fair Housing Act: In privatized housing on military installations, property managers are required to make reasonable alterations at no cost to the tenant.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance: Provides supplemental income to people who can’t get or keep a job because of a disability.
  • Medicaid and Medicare for families with special needs: Basic health and long-term care services for eligible people including individuals with disabilities, in families with low income and limited resources.

Facing financial challenges? Here are some sources for help

The best way to address money issues is to get ahead of them. If you see a need for assistance on the horizon, here are some places to turn for assistance:

  • TRICARE Debt Collection Assistance Officers. TRICARE regional offices can help with resolving health care collection-related issues and are located at military treatment facilities. Or visit the Customer Service Community Directory to find a Debt Collection Assistance Officer.
  • Military Aid Societies. These nonprofit organizations support each of the services by providing emergency financial assistance in the form of interest-free loans and grants. Visit the Army Emergency ReliefNavy-Marine Corps Relief SocietyAir Force Aid Society or Coast Guard Mutual Assistance websites for more information. Or contact your local Military and Family Support Center for more information about the Military Aid Societies.
  • Social Security Administration. Use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool to find out if you qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration.

Make sure to visit the EFMP & Me tool to create a customized checklist for your family. Review the Legal, Estate Planning and Trusts section for more information on future planning. Other great resources are the Legal and Long-Term Financial Planning Part 1 and Part 2 episodes of the Office of Special Needs EFMP podcast series.

Visit the EFMP Family Support provider at your nearest installation or call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use live chat to schedule an appointment with a special needs consultant. OCONUS/International? View calling options. Appointments are available seven days a week.

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