Autism and Managing Money: A Guide

“When you meet one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism”. The above is a famous quote via a renowned US-based autistic professor of special education – and in a mere 13 words, it perfectly highlights the sheer diversity of people with ASD.

While, for some autistic people, money management is a breeze, others – in much the same way as some neurotypical people – will find that spending and/or saving is more than a little daunting. With that in mind, this guide answers some frequently asked questions about money, including making a monthly budget, and where to seek help via handy financial resources.

It’s important to open the conversation of managing money with autism but we are always keen to be led by our customers, your family and/or your carers. If you feel we could’ve worded something better (or provided more tailored advice or links to relevant support), we’d love to know; please do reach out to us.

Can I claim benefits?

There are lots of benefits you may be entitled to claim, depending on your circumstances. The National Autistic Society has compiled a list of the benefits you can get over here.

Autistic adults or parents/carers to autistic people could be eligible for welfare benefits– and the National Autistic Society has prepared some helpful guides detailing these, from Personal Independence Payment (PIP) form filling tips, to employment support and allowance, and Universal Credit.

How do I budget?

‘It’s important to keep your money safe, make the payments that you need to and that you have enough money to meet your needs’, states National Autistic Society, which combines everything from the different bank accounts available, to using debit, credit and store cards, and debt.

The site has also created a managing money e-learning training module to help you. The mini course is designed to enable you to find out about your rights, budgeting, bank accounts and borrowing and managing money with autism. It’s been created by autistic people and other autism specialists, so you can be sure it puts your needs and wants first.

Unique in design, innovative in delivery and brimming with knowledge direct from autistic people, the modules will help you gain knowledge and understanding of autism at your own pace, states the site. It will also enable you to complete the training at a time that best suits you.

What do I do if I’m in debt?

MoneyHelper (formerly Money Advice Service) has been set up by the government to provide free, impartial money advice – from debt and borrowing to insurance, and even a beginner’s guide to scams.

If you’ve found yourself in debt, you can access free debt advice in your region – just head here. Via this service, a trained and experienced debt advisor will speak to you about your situation and help you see what the best decision might be for you.

I’m the parent or carer of a young person with ASD; how do I teach them about money?

Of course, it’s important to be led by your own loved one when it comes to teaching them about money. After all, everyone benefits from different learning and teaching styles. That said, this site (Autistic Spectrum News) – though US-based – offers some tips worth considering when it comes to imparting advice to young people with ASD.

This includes having a basic understanding of financial topics yourself; if there is something you are a little fuzzy on, the site states – whether it’s interest rates, bank accounts, insurance, investing or retirement plans – familiarise yourself with the basics. This will help you explain such topics to your child in a simple way, answering questions about potentially complex topics.

Start with basic money skills like identifying different denominations of currency,’ the site goes on, ‘…For younger children, present coins and bills [bank notes] to your child and drop it into a piggy bank. For older children, have them sort money by type and value, add up the amounts and talk about the importance of saving.’

How are you helping your child navigate all things money? Let us know via our Facebook page.

Plus, if you have a question or two about saving or investing with Unity Mutual, you can contact our friendly and dedicated team.

Until next time…

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