If you are the parent, or other family member, of a child with special needs, you are undoubtedly already aware of the challenges caregivers face as well as the often-prohibitive cost of raising a child with special needs. To help raise the public’s awareness of children with special needs, law enforcement officers are sponsoring the first ever “NYPD Brooklyn North Patrol Borough 5k.” The event is also intended to raise funds to help families of children with special needs with the high cost of care.
“We learned many members of the police department had family members with special needs so we wanted to do something to give back to the community,” said patrol Commander Jeffrey Maddrey. The idea for the race first came to Commander Maddrey after learning about a 13-year old Arizona boy with autism named Jake. A relationship developed between Jake and the officers in Brooklyn after they sent birthday cards to Jake and began communicating with him. That relationship led first to the inspiration for the race and then to an invitation for Jake and his family to come watch the race.
“To take a kid that you barely know bring him out here and do this awesome event for him it just shows that there’s good Samaritans out there and more importantly there’s police officers that genuinely do care about the public, the people in the communities,” said Jake’s father, Tom Priestley.
The inaugural race attracted over 1,000 participants who ran and walked to the finish line. Some participants even walked alongside their children as an additional show of support. “It’s very emotional because I’m affected by it,” said Nydia Rodriguez, president of NYPD Cares. Another young runner commented “I think this is really amazing for a little kid that has special needs. All the people from Brooklyn and New York came here and supported the event.” Although the race was for charity, there were also some competitive runners in the group, with the first-place finisher coming in under 19 minutes.
Money raised from the race will go towards two organizations that support families that have children with special needs — NYPD Cares and With Arms Wide Open.
Special Needs Planning
Hopefully, the NYPD 5k will be an annual event – and one that will continue to raise both public awareness and financial support for the families of children with special needs. Anyone who is raising a child with special needs knows first-hand the joy a child brings to your life. It can, however, also be considerably more expensive to raise a child with special needs. Doctor visits are more frequent and often include the cost of specialist consultations. Medical equipment and supplies are frequently needed along with various types of therapy. For those who are fortunate enough to have employer sponsored health insurance and/or qualify for Medicaid, the majority of the expenses may be covered while your child is a minor; however, what happens when your child reaches the age of majority?
For purposes of eligibility for assistance programs such as Medicaid, SSI, and Food Stamps (SNAP), your child is a legal adult when he/she turns 18 years old. If you wish to continue to provide financial support to your child after that point, care must be taken to ensure that your contributions do not disqualify your child for those assistance programs. Most federal assistance programs have an income and asset limit. Outright gifts to your child could result in exceeding those limits, causing a loss of benefits.
The good news is that special needs planning can help. Specifically, a special needs (or supplemental needs) trust may be the solution. By consulting with an experienced New York special needs attorney before your child reaches adulthood, you can be prepared with a plan that allows you to continue to contribute to your child’s care without jeopardizing eligibility for much needed assistance programs.
Contact New York Special Needs Planning Lawyers
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns about special needs planning, or you wish to get started creating your plan, contact an experienced special needs planning attorney at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.