• Presentation and defense of special needs trusts in social security supplemental income (SSI) or Medicaid applications
  • Planning for social security supplemental disability income recipients’ and their families
  • And more

It is in the child’s best interest for the parent to maintain employer-sponsored healthcare insurance for as long as possible. However, either upon obtaining a certain age or upon the death of the parent, private healthcare insurance will no longer be available. For most disabled individuals, Medicaid benefits are a necessity. Our law firm offers all of our clients outstanding service and works closely to figure out the best solution.

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Why Choose Schellart Joyce to Help Plan for Children with Special Needs?

Planning for a disabled child’s well-being, both during the parent’s lifetime, and after the parent’s death, involves a complex array of social, financial, and legal issues. We at The Law Offices of Schellart Joyce often work with families to set up special needs trusts as a central element of a solid estate plan for the parents. The entire process typically includes preparing the parents’ wills and powers of attorney, helping to change beneficiary designations on retirement plans and life insurance as appropriate, informing other relatives about the special needs trust for any gifts or bequests to the child, counseling parents about changes in benefits when the child turns 18, identifying important community resources, etc.

Making sure that the child with a disability will be well cared for after the parents are gone is paramount. Any money passing directly to the person with a disability could make him or her ineligible for SSI and Medicaid, resulting in the inheritance having to be spent to pay for medical care and basic housing expenses that would otherwise be covered by the benefits. A special needs trust is often used to receive any inheritance so that it can be used to for the child’s benefit without interfering with public benefits eligibility, resulting in an overall enhanced quality of life.

SSI vs. SSD Distinction

For disabled individuals who have been employed and obtained the necessary “quarters”, they will be eligible for Social Security Disability should they at some point be unable to continue working. Social Security Disability payments are based upon their income while they were employed and are not based upon need. Social Security Disability also includes Medicare eligibility, usually twenty-five (25) months after Social Security Disability eligibility is established. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues and is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

At our law firm, we are knowledgeable, experienced, and we make sure that distributions from the trust will not cause your loved one to lose their SSI or Medicaid. We can also help parents prepare a detailed “letter of intent” regarding their wishes for their child, which acts as a guide for any future caregiver to help ensure a smooth transition when the parents are no longer there to care for the child themselves.

Special Needs Trust

Beneficiary designations are not controlled by the terms of your Will, so these need to be updated separately. A special needs trust is one example of how proper planning can make a big difference for your loved ones down the road. A special needs trust is a trust set up to hold funds for the benefit of a person with disabilities. The money in the trust does not count towards the resource limit for SSI or Medicaid purposes. With a trust, the funds are completely protected from anything that might happen to your child. However, administering a special needs trust correctly requires a good understanding of government benefit laws and trust laws.

Each Trust option has a specific purpose and provides benefits tailored to the child’s needs. A qualified elder law/disability law attorney, such as Attorney Joyce, can best advise you on what steps make most sense in a particular situation.