Special Needs Trust
Claimants for disability may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In order to qualify for SSI benefits, a person must have a low income and few resources. SSI is a needs-based benefit program. A person’s SSI benefits are calculated based on the resources of their household. For some, filing for disability is a direct result of an injury that occurred through no fault of their own. Many who are injured receive a court award or settlement as a result of the negligence of another party. Depending on the amount, the settlement can then affect a person’s eligibility for SSI or reduce a person’s benefits.
A solution to this problem is called a Special Needs Trust. Special Needs Trusts are often made for the benefit of disabled or mentally ill beneficiaries so they do not lose the government benefits that they are receiving or would receive in the future. The settlement or court award will be placed in a trust with a trustee having control over the management of the funds, rather than the beneficiary. With a Special Needs Trust, a person receiving SSI will continue to receive their SSI benefits and Medicaid. The Trust will then supplement that income so as to provide for any needs or services that SSI cannot cover. The trust’s assets will not be counted as resources that could impact a person’s eligibility for SSI. This would allow someone to continue to remain eligible and receive their benefits from SSI as well as have any added expenses taken care of with money from the trust.