• Nearly 54 Million Americans cope with special needs and the rising associated expenses, according to the National Organization on Disability.
  • Nearly one-fifth of all Americans—more than 54 million men, women and children— have a physical, sensory or intellectual disability, according to the National Organization on Disability.
  • More than 41 million Americans, or almost 15% of the population age 5 and older, have some type of disability; according to 2007 Census survey data. Some 6.2% of children ages 5 to 15, or 2.8 million kids, have disabilities, the Census Bureau found.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau says about 20% of Americans between the ages of 16 and 64 suffer some form of physical, mental or emotional impairment. Many of them are outliving their parents thanks to improved care medical technology.
  • Over 75 percent of special needs adults are without employment (Grassi, S.G. Special Planning is Needed for Families with a Special-Needs Child. Journal of Practical Estate Planning, 39-51)
  • Households containing at least one family member with a mental disability are also marked by the highest poverty rate, 32 percent, within the U.S. (Erickson, W., & Lee, C. Disability Status Report: United States.)

Following statistics are from “Disability and American Families:”, US Census Bureau Report

  • One out of 9 children under the age of 18 in the US today receive special education services
  • Out of 72.3 million families included in the US Census Bureau Report, about 2 in every 7 reported having at least one member with a disability
  • 20.9 million families have members with a disability
  • Of the 20.9 million families reporting at least one member with a disability, 5.5 percent have both adults and children with a disability
  • One in every 26 American families reported raising children with a disability
  • One in every three families with a female householder with no husband present reported members with a disability
  • An estimated 2.8 million families, 1.3 percent, reported raising two or more children with a disability

Following Statistics are from the MetLife’s survey “2005 The Torn Security Blanket: Children with Special Needs and the Planning Gap” and updated with 2011 Torn Security Blanket Study

  • 69% of families say they are very concerned about being able to provide lifetime care for their dependents with special needs
  • 88% of parents who have children with special needs have not set up a trust to preserve eligibility for benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Social Income; however, the number of special needs trusts set up by caregivers has grown by 21%, nearly double number recorded in 2005
  • 84% have not written a letter of intent outlining an agreement for the future care of the child
  • 72% have not named a trustee to handle the child’s finances and 56% say they are unfamiliar with the steps needed to identify a trustee to watch over their dependent’s financial holdings in the future
  • In 2005, 53% have not identified a guardian for their child. Now in 2011 it is less than 49%.
  • More than 59% of caregivers say there is too little information available about financial assistance (benefits and support provided by government agencies); and 55% say that such information is very difficult to find.
  • The survey found that 32% of parents spend more than 40 hours per week with their special needs child, or time equal to a second full-time job
  • Parents spend an average of $326 per month, or just under $4000 per year, on out-of-pocket medical expenses on their special needs child.
  • On the positive side 38% of caregivers have written a will compared to 32% in 2005. And 36% plan for their dependent’s future housing up form 31%

Statistics from Trends in Consumer Behavior: What every Financial Planner Should Know. This research on consumer behavior and financial planning was complied by First Command Financial Services in Fort Worth Texas

  • People with a financial plan are more optimistic about their financial future than those without a plan
  • The majority of middle-income Americans have a positive perception of the value with financial planning
  • 88% of the people who have a financial plan believe the benefits outweigh the costs. In 2008 it is 95%
  • Ingraining simple, positive financial behaviors like saving money and limiting debt can have a significant impact on people’s financial outlook and a sense of security
  • People with a financial plan are more likely to stay the course and exhibit disciplined financial behavior

Autism Statistics

  • Autism effects 1 in every 88 children
  • 40% of children with autism do not talk at all
  • The lifetime cost for an individual with autism is estimated to be $3.2 million
  • Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure estimated to increase drastically over the next decade
  • There is currently no cure for autism
  • No one knows what causes autism
  • In 20 years there has been more than a 600% increase in diagnosed cases of autism
  • One in every 91 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder. (Source:Department of Health and Human Services National Survey of Children’s Healthreport relying on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Released October 5, 2009)
  • According to a study conducted by Harvard University, the lifetime costs of treating and caring for an individual with autism is approaching $3 million.
  • The Center for Disease Control’s statistical trending estimates that by 2016, the costs of treating, educating, housing and providing other services for autistic individuals in America could reach $400 billion. Here are some of the more recent studies and key findings:
  • A nationally-representative survey, published in the December 2008 issue of Pediatrics and involving approximately 40,000 children with special health care needs including those related to autism, found that parents of children with autism have much greater health care costs and experience serious financial difficulties more than parents of children with other chronic health conditions.
  • MassMutual-sponsored 2008 Easter Seals “Living with Autism” study found that parents with autistic children have very real financial concerns:
    • 75% of parents with autistic children worry about the financial support their children will receive after they can no longer support them.
    • 61% of these parents incurred debt to meet their financial needs.
    • Over 50% of these parents were concerned about how the financial drain would affect their retirement plans.
    • 47% of these parents worry that the financial drain they currently experience will financially impact their ability to raise other siblings.
    • Only 15% believed their child would be financially secure.
    • Only 13% believed their child would be financially independent.
    • Only 12% believed their child would be able to manage some or all of their finances.
    • 78% do not have any form of Comprehensive Special Needs Financial Life Plan,
    • 56% did not know of any financial professional with the expertise to address these needs,
    • 25% have done no planning at all,
    • Less than 20% have even created a special needs trust.


A financial plan and the ongoing guidance of a committed advisor can help people accomplish long-term goals, but also frequently offers immediate emotional benefits.