There are many different acronyms used in the estate planning/elder law realm, and the alphabet soup can get a bit confusing to people that are not in the field. With this in mind, we will take a look at two different government programs that provide similar benefits in this post.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
When you work and pay your payroll taxes, a portion of your contributions go toward future Social Security eligibility. This program is largely intended to provide income for senior citizens, but individuals that become disabled and unable to earn much income can also gain eligibility.
The amount of the benefit that would be received by a person that qualifies for SSDI would depend upon the contributions that were made through tax payments. At the time of this writing in 2019, the average benefit is $1234 a month, and the maximum is $2861.
We should emphasize the fact that there is no asset limit attached to eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income is another government program that provides a monthly financial boost to people with disabilities. The major difference is that it is not tied to any contributions that you made while you were a member of the workforce. Someone that never worked at all due to the impact of a disability could qualify for SSI.
However, there is a countable asset limit of just $2000, and the payouts are more modest. The maximum Supplemental Security Income benefit this year for a single person is $783.
Special Needs Planning
As estate planning attorneys, we often assist clients that want to provide for loved ones with special needs. This requires careful strategizing because of the fact that people with disabilities often rely on Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.
Since these are need-based programs, an improvement in financial status could potentially trigger a loss of eligibility. A widely embraced solution exists in the form of the supplemental needs trust.
To implement this approach, you would establish and fund the trust and name a beneficiary to act as the administrator. It could be someone that you know personally, but many people will use a professional provider of fiduciary services, such as a trust company or the trust department of a bank.
Under the rules of the Medicaid and SSI programs, the trustee would be able to use assets in the trust to provide goods and services for the beneficiary. As long as the regulations are not violated in any way, these expenditures would not impact ongoing eligibility for the benefits.
In the trust declaration, the grantor of the trust would name a successor beneficiary. After the death of the first beneficiary, the successor would take possession of any assets that remain in the trust.
Attend a Free Seminar
We are conducting a series of seminars in the near future. You can gain a great deal of useful information about many important elder law and estate planning topics if you attend one of these sessions. There is no charge at all, so you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Though they are offered on a complimentary basis, we ask that you register in advance so that we know how many people to expect. You can see the dates and obtain registration information if you take a moment to head over to our seminar schedule page.
Schedule a Consultation!
If you are ready to have a one-on-one conversation with an estate planning attorney, our doors are open. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 513-721-1513.