As an attorney, you may have clients with physically or mentally-disabled loved ones. They want the best for them and are likely looking for a way to support them financially. People with disabilities have a need to protect their assets or may be awarded an inheritance or legal settlement. However, both scenarios may jeopardize your ability to receive benefits from government programs, such as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. If you have clients facing these circumstances, the answer may be to establish a special needs trust.
What is a Special Needs Trust for SSI?
Special needs trusts can be established by the individual, a family member or a friend to hold assets and allow the individual to benefit from them while remaining eligible for SSI benefits. The SSI program has strict income guidelines and receiving funds directly can disqualify individuals from using the program. Establishing a special needs trust for SSI purposes can solve this issue.
Types of Special Needs Trusts
There are three types of special needs trusts that vary in terms of who establishes it and where the funds come from:
First Party Special Needs Trust
This trust must be established by a parent, grandparent, or the court. The beneficiary’s own assets fund this type of trust. The trustee can utilize funds on behalf of the beneficiary until he or she dies. The funds then are used to reimburse the government for the cost of the beneficiary’s medical care.
Third Party Special Needs Trust
In a third party special needs trust, funds used to establish the trust come from someone other than the beneficiary. Family members who want to support a loved one with special needs often utilize this option. The funds can be used for needs that go beyond what’s covered by programs such as SSI and Medicaid. Also, with this trust, you do not have to reimburse the government once the beneficiary dies.
A pooled trust is established by a non-profit organization. The trust pools the funds of individual beneficiaries. These beneficiaries or their loved one’s can establish co-accounts, which can be used for a variety of expenses.
How Synergy Settlements Can Help You
You’ve done a great job for your client. Now let us protect them. We will assess your client’s situation and walk them through viable solutions that help them support loved ones and protect their Medicaid eligibility.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, please submit our contact request form or call (877) 242-0022.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.