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Financial Planning for a Family Member with a Disability

25 Nov 2021

Financial Planning for a Family Member with a Disability

With over 4.4 million Australians living with a disability, most families either have a family member with a disability or know of a family supporting a disabled loved one. 

In 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found 4.5 per cent, or approximately 211,200 children, aged between 0 to 14 years, have a profound or severe disability, placing enormous stress on parents as they care for, and also financially support, their child.

A family with a disabled loved one has also been found to have a significantly lower standard of living, than those without.

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In the short term, a disabled person needed to increase their adult-equivalent disposable income by 50% to achieve the same standard of living as those living without a disability. 

However, this figure varies according to the severity of the disability – 19% for people without work-related limitations to 102% for people with severe limitations. 

The National Disability Insurance Scheme was introduced to make Government support both more adequate and to assist in lifting living standards for those in need.

However, beyond accessing Government support, there are a number of financial stresses that expert financial advice can help reduce.

A car accident

Jen and Warren are aged 60 and have a 15 year old son Reece. While driving home from work, Jen was involved in a car accident that left her permanently disabled. 

Sadly, Jen was unable to return to work, which dramatically impacted the family income. There were also expenses related to home and car modifications to make Jen more comfortable. 

Jen and Warren engaged a financial adviser to help explore their financial options. 

Their adviser reviewed their situation and helped in the following key areas: 

  • Superannuation – Jen held Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) cover of $400,000 within her super account. Their adviser helped Jen claim on that policy.
  • Tax effective withdrawal of insurance claim – Their adviser also advised on a tax-effective withdrawal of Jen’s $400,000 superannuation balance to assist in paying for Reece’s school fees, home and car modifications, and ongoing rehabilitation costs. 
  • Centrelink – Assisted in applying for government payment services for Jen.
  • Investment – Their adviser provided investment advice to help generate regular income from the balance of funds to offset some of Jen’s lost income. 
  • Estate Planning – Worked with the family’s lawyer to update their estate planning structure (Wills, Powers of Attorneys, Guardianship for Reece, special disability trust, etc.)
  • Retirement Planning – Warren wanted to bring forward his retirement plan to spend more time with Jen. Their adviser provided a range of financial projections to help determine an optimal solution.

Seeking Financial Advice

The additional financial strain living with a disability can place on an individual, along with their immediate family, means it is imperative to thoroughly explore every possible financial support and investment option available.

To ensure your loved one is financially secure long into the future, speak with a financial adviser today for a tailored financial plan.