Preserving Government Benefits – Special/Supplemental Needs Trusts
Government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income are provided to people with disabilities who have financial need as determined by the government agencies that provide benefits. Benefits for which eligibility is determined by financial need are referred to as “means tested” programs and Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income are such means tested programs.
A person with a disability who is receiving means tested government benefits may be able to preserve benefits even if he or she receives money from an unexpected source such as an inheritance or personal injury settlement by placing the money into an properly drafted Special/Supplemental Needs Trust or a pooled supplemental needs trust.
Often families wish to provide for the future needs of their loved one who is disabled and receiving means tested government benefits but cannot do so without disrupting eligibility for benefits. Special needs planning allows family members to contribute funds or other property to provide for the needs of loved ones without affecting government benefits.