Financial Planning for Special-Needs Children

A patchwork of benefits and programs can help relieve the crushing costs, but planning for the long term is essential, too.

Jessica and Nathan Pugh's 5-year-old son, Lachlan, has a rare brain malformation that affects his motor skills, but that doesn't seem to slow him down much. Lachlan enjoys zipping around in his motorized wheelchair, and he is content to spend hours in the toy aisle at Target. "He's a very stable, happy and super fun kid," says Jessica. "He loves Spider-Man and Disney and is full of surprises."

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.