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New Easter Seals-MassMutual Study: Autism Strains Family Finances, Threatens Long-Term Care and Security
Date:12/16/2008

to start, and simply being overwhelmed. "Even when they do reach out, the help can be misguided because it comes from financial professionals who are not trained specifically to deal with complex cases involving special needs," added Gruszkos. "Run-of-the-mill planning can backfire."

    The study found that:
    -- only half of families surveyed receive professional financial advice
    -- only 38 percent have designated a guardian
    -- only 17 percent have created a Special Needs Trust, which can be an
       important funding vehicle
    -- only 24 percent have identified living arrangements if the parent is no
       longer living

MassMutual's SpecialCare program is an innovative outreach initiative developed exclusively by MassMutual to provide access to information, specialists, and financial products and services that can help improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and other special needs and their families and caregivers.

"Life care planning is a growing area of financial services need, as awareness and occurrence of disabilities and special needs increases across the country," explained Gruszkos. "MassMutual has more than 200 Special Care Planners across the U.S. who have received advanced training in estate and tax planning concepts, special needs trusts, government programs, and the emotional dynamics of working with special needs families and caregivers," she added.

"There is an urgent need for increased funding and services -- especially for adults with autism. Easter Seals and MassMutual want to help change all of this and make a difference for families living with autism today," concluded Patricia Wright, Ph.D., MPH, Easter Seals' national director, autism services.

Results of the study are available at http://www.massmutual.com/autism. A variety of resources from MassMutu
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SOURCE MassMutual
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