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I saw a commercial showing what life might look like caring for a child with special needs a while ago and thought it did a great job portraying something that can be hard to describe. Now it turns out that for each “like” the video receives, MassMutual will donate $5 (up to $25,000) to the Easter Seals Make the First Five Count® program, which promotes early identification of disabilities and developmental delays.

MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company and one of Easter Seals’ long-time corporate sponsors, and this is part of its recent social media campaign to raise awareness about the financial challenges faced by parents of kids with special needs.

Families of special needs children have a lot to plan for and think about. MassMutual’s SpecialCare program is the ultimate financial planning resource for families — it covers everything from how families can provide the best care for their loved ones now to how they can plan for the future. Here’s what MassMutual identifies as key elements for good financial planning:

  • A team approach. Seek financial professionals who have the special needs experience and are willing to guide you through the important financial decisions that affect your entire family.
  • A caregiver and a letter of intent. Identify the person who will care for your loved one and draft a letter of intent that will serve as a guide for that person to provide care, support and other assistance after you are gone.
  • Long-term expenses. Plan ahead for expenses such as housing, education, work opportunities and daily transportation when determining your loved one’s lifetime financial needs.
  • Availability of government benefits. Research the benefits that are provided by the federal government for families affected by special needs, you may qualify for assistance.
  • A will in place. Make sure you have beneficiary arrangements and a current will that aligns with your other financial planning strategies.

MassMutual’s awesome campaign has generated some media buzz, too. An article in the Wall Street Journal leads with a story of how attending a MassMutual seminar on financial planning for children with special needs helped change the lives of the Waldrons, a SpecialCare family. MassMutual’s campaign to help Easter Seals Make the First Five Count was also mentioned on Parents magazine’s goody blog in a post called “Easing the Financial Burden for Special-Needs Families.”

When I first heard that Mass Mutual has been helping caregivers of loved ones with disabilities with financial planning for nearly a decade, I was really impressed. Now that I know they’ll donate $5 (up to $25,000) to the Easter Seals Make the First Five Count® program every time that the <a “Like MassMutual on Facebook to support Easter Seals” href=”″>commercial I mentioned earlier gets a “like,” well, I’m overwhelmed. Wow!


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