Just as a person with FASD may have trouble understanding time, the concept of money can be equally puzzling. He or she may have trouble determining the value of an object and may buy, sell, or trade it for an unreasonable price. Money is quickly spent as the individual may not realize the importance of saving money, especially for rent and other important bills.
To assist in managing money, a caregiver may:
- Designate a representative payee, typically a family member or case manager, who can determine where money should be spent
- Assist in budgeting and track spending
- Organize for rent, phone, and utilities to be paid for directly so this money cannot be spent elsewhere
- Use a Representation Agreement so an adviser is able to help with finances
- Encourage the child to involve the caregiver in financial decisions
- Create grocery lists and menus to help determine purchases
- Use grocery delivery services to control how much money can be spent on food per week
More tips on money management can be found in FASD Tips for Parents and Caregivers.
Money is often an abstract concept for someone with FASD, making it difficult to determine the value of a product. The caregiver should having him or her help with purchases to improve the understanding of value and money. Have him or her create a budget book that can keep track of any spending. Support the child if necessary, but allow him or her to make mistakes that teach lasting lessons. Credit cards and debit cards should always be avoided to prevent significant spending.
Large monetary gifts should be avoided in favor of smaller, more frequent gifts. Large amounts of money can easily be spent in one purchase, potential leaving little to no money for the essentials. Caregivers should go shopping with their child from a young age up through adulthood to teach and enforce the value of a dollar. The child should be encouraged to check with caregivers before making a purchase.
A person with FASD may struggle to pay bills regardless of if he or she has a job. Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are options that supply assistance. FAS Link and Disabilities Benefits Center provide additional information for obtaining benefits. But, it is difficult to obtain this assistance even with a diagnosis of FASD. More financial assistance may be needed from the parents as disability insurance does not usually meet the cost of living. The American Bar Association provides more information on benefits for adults and how to deal with rejected claims.