If you are concerned about a disabled child’s income, there are government benefits that he or she may be able to receive with proper planning. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides income for food and shelter to aged, blind and disabled persons with little or no income. In New York State, a person is automatically eligible for SSI if he or she is eligible for Medicaid.
If the individual has income or assets beyond the allowed amount, he or she will not be likely eligible for either SSI or Medicaid. This can be a serious problem for a person who does not have an alternative form of medical insurance. According to the SSI eligibility requirements, an individual must have less than $2,000 in resources. If a person has resources in excess of this amount, he or she may choose to transfer the resources to a first party supplemental needs trust in order to preserve assets. In addition, a parent, guardian, grandparent, or Court may opt to create and oversee a trust.
Generally, a person applying for SSI is not eligible for three years from the date of any transfer of assets. However, a transfer to a first party supplemental needs trust will not affect eligibility. There is no look back period in that instance. A disabled person cannot maintain a role as trustee. Therefore, the third-party trustee will be responsible for distributing the funds from the trust. Also, there are limits on how the assets in the trust can be used and distributed. For instance, a trustee is not allowed to provide a disabled person with cash from the trust. However, the trustee is able to purchase goods and services for the disabled person’s benefit with the money from the trust.
Also, it is worth noting that assets such as a home, furnishings, a car, life insurance, and a prepaid burial may be exempt assets. If an estate plan is structured properly, a disabled individual’s resources may be preserved, while obtaining benefits through SSI. For many individuals, SSI benefits assist an individual with paying for expenses such as shelter, that they may normally not be able to afford otherwise.
If you are in the process of planning for the future needs of a loved one, an experienced New York estate planning attorney can give you the legal guidance necessary to help plan for their future. From the simple to complex, the attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Associates are skilled in all aspects of estate planning and are dedicated to representing their clients with diligence and compassion. With an office conveniently located in Garden City, Nassau County, the firm is dedicated to providing high-quality legal representation at reasonable costs. Call (516) 280-7105 to arrange a free consultation.