Calculating the Cost of a Childhood Disability

December 17th, 2014
Childhood Disability

When you think of disability cases, you may think of adults who have been hurt at work or in an auto accident. But what if a child is permanently injured in an accident. How will this injury affect the child’s ability to work and earn money when they become an adult.

What are the long-term medical care cost required to deal with the child’s emotional, physical, or cognitive impairments. In addition, a Life Care Plan details the local cost of caring for a disabled child over their life expectance.

In an article in a professional journal titled Children with Disabilities, researchers Mark Stabile and Sara Allyn discuss the impact that a disabled child can have on a family.

Stabile and Allyn write that the costs of having a disabled child can vary widely from family to family. Factors that should be considered include (but are not limited to) the severity of the disability and the estimation strategy used to determine the cost of the disability. They use the example of a child disabled with severe ADHD (using 2011 financial data):

“We use an average of $1,000 per child with a disability in 2011 dollars, which we take from the ADHD literature, given that ADHD is one of the most prevalent conditions among children. Estimates suggest that having a child with a disability results in a decline in mothers’ labor force participation of 3 to 20 percentage points, with an average estimated decline of approximately 9 percentage points. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a participation rate for women of 61 percent, which suggests a participation rate of closer to 52 percent for women with a disabled child…[We] estimate an annual loss in earnings from absence from the labor force of approximately $3,150, with a large range depending on the estimates used… Estimates vary considerably depending on the methodology, jurisdiction, and data used, but the economic costs are indeed significant, by our estimates between $20,000 and $60,000, with an annual average of $30,500 per family with a disabled child.”

These data clearly show the economic impact that the loss of a mother’s income can have on the family of a disabled child, as well as the expected costs incurred by caring for the child each year. If a family chooses to pursue a disability claim for a disabled child, this is the kind of information an experienced life care planner can provide to a jury when he or she is making decisions about possible awards of severe permanent injuries to a child.

Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) is one of the top companies providing vocational expert and life care planning services for seriously injured children in the United States. We have extensive experience creating life care plans for plaintiffs who have suffered catastrophic injuries. Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help with your case.

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