If you're the parent of a disabled child, you're probably concerned with the uncertainty of your child's financial future and the realization that you will not always be around to provide for him. Understanding your disabled child's future needs and eligibility for available resources will allow you to create a plan that will protect his financial security. A Supplemental Needs Trusts, (often referred to as a Special Needs Trust,) has become the preferred method to address these issues and offer assurance that your child will be taken care of after you can no longer do so.
Protecting Your Disabled Child's Eligibility for Government Benefits
Your disabled child may be eligible for certain Federal or State benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid (MassHealth). However, his right to receive these benefits may be jeopardized if he receives funds through a personal injury settlement, inheritance or insurance proceeds, since SSI and Medicaid are designed for low-income and low-asset individuals. Each program has independent eligibility criteria that set limits on income and financial resources that an individual must maintain to secure or retain the benefits.
In order to qualify for SSI or Medicaid, a disabled individual can not own more than $2,000 in assets, excluding certain items such as a car, and in certain circumstances, a home. Fortunately, the government has established rules allowing any additional assets over the $2,000 limit to be held in a trust for a recipient of SSI and Medicaid as long as certain parameters are met.
A Special Needs Trust provides a vehicle to preserve your disabled child's eligibility for Federal and State benefits by...
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by: Brett A. Kaufman, Esq.
May 28, 2007