If you are disabled, or someone you care about is disabled, you should strongly consider the creation of a special needs trust. A special needs trust can help to preserve access to important government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, while making it possible to own assets that can provide a better quality of life.
Zimmer Law Firm knows the ins-and-outs of the laws on special needs trusts and can assist you in determining if you need a trust. We also know the rules for trust creation and can provide you with essential guidance on how to make a trust that will provide the protections that you need. Give us a call to find out more about what is involved in creating a trust and to discover how a special needs trust can work to protect your access to benefits.
How Does a Special Needs Trust Help Preserve Access to Social Security Income?
In many cases, a person who is disabled will need access to means-tested benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Both Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid have maximum income limits and have limits on the amount of resources that it is permissible to own. If income or resources are provided to a recipient of Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid, it is possible that access to benefits could be lost. This could be a major problem if Medicaid was providing payment of costly care and if SSI was the only source of income that the disabled person had.
A special needs trust can make it possible to keep benefits while receiving money or property. The trust will be the owner of the property. A trustee will be assigned who is in charge of managing the funds that are held within the trust. The trustee can use the funds to provide things for the person who is disabled, but cannot give cash or cash equivalents (such as paying the rent) for the disabled individual. Since the disabled individual does not own the property that is held within the special needs trust and does not have control over the property, there is no loss of benefits.
Both first and third party special needs trusts can be created, with first party trusts funded using the assets of the disabled persona and third party trusts funded by a loved one of the disabled person.
The Social Security Administration makes clear that special needs trusts are treated differently when determining benefits eligibility. When properly structured, this type of trust can thus make it possible for quality of life to be improved through a gift, inheritance, or other influx of property, while no important benefits are lost.
Should You Create a Special Needs Trust?
You should consider creating a first party special needs trust if you are disabled and need access to benefits like Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid but you will be coming into money, such as from a personal injury settlement. Many people who are disabled do get money from an injury claim or from other sources and they can create a trust so those funds can provide enhanced quality of life without causing a loss of access to important benefits.
If you are going to be giving an inter vivos gift (a gift during your life) or going to be giving a gift after your death (in your will or through any other property transfer methods), you should also talk with a special needs planning lawyer. You do not want to give money or property to someone who is disabled with the intention of enhancing their quality of life and end up costing them Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income benefits. Zimmer Law Firm can help make sure that assets you transfer to a disabled person are actually a beneficial gift used to provide for things that government benefits don’t cover, while leaving access to government benefits in tact.
Getting Help from A Cincinnati Special Needs Planning Lawyer
Zimmer Law Firm can provide you with comprehensive help on all aspects of trust creation. We can assist you in determining if you should create a special needs trust or if another type of trust or legal tool is best for you. We also provide guidance with the process of creating and administering a trust.
To discover more about special needs trusts and the benefits available to the disabled, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 513.721.1513 for personalized help with your unique situation if you are disabled or if you have a disabled family member that you want to help provide for.