Special Needs Planning Attorneys in Illinois and New York
For recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid, remaining eligible to receive these benefits is crucial to maintaining their livelihood and health. SSI and Medicaid are means-tested programs, meaning that if recipients have more than a certain threshold dollar amount in countable resources, the government will discontinue providing benefits. An inheritance or lawsuit award or settlement can jeopardize these benefits.
Establishing a Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust (also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust) is an arrangement in which assets are held in trust for the benefit of an SSI recipient while preserving the recipient’s eligibility to continue receiving benefits. The funds in the Special Needs Trust can be used for anything Medicaid doesn’t cover to increase the enjoyment and satisfaction of the benefits recipient.
A Special Needs Trusts is a great tool for families with children who have developmental disabilities who want to be sure that as their children make their way into adulthood, they will have access to programs that offer residential housing, developmental training, supported employment, physical therapy, speech therapy and behavioral services. By funding a Special Needs Trust, families can enroll their child in Medicaid, which will cover these types of developmental programs, while providing a financial cushion to fund anything Medicaid will not cover.
Special Needs Trusts are also great to set up so that family members can either gift money to a special needs individual or leave a bequest of money to the individual in a will. By gifting money or leaving money directly to a recipient of SSI/Medicaid, family members will find themselves responsible for that individual losing benefits such as the programs mentioned above.