Preservation of Government Benefits when Planning a Settlement

Government Benefits Preservation: How to do it, and Why it is Critical

A large cash settlement from a lawsuit can prove to be a terminal disruption to your client’s eligibility for any existing government benefits, as well as to their eligibility for any governmental aid they may need in the future. The benefits most at risk of being lost include means-tested government benefits programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), federally-assisted housing, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Our settlement planners are well-versed in how to best structure the payout of awarded settlements to ensure continuity and preservation of government benefits. This is of critical importance in a scenario where a now-disabled individual receives a personal injury case settlement. In this scenario, the wealth gained from the settlement would likely make he or she ineligible for government aid of any kind. Furthermore, the settlement earnings alone may not be enough to support the individual’s future and life-long medical care needs. In this case, Milestone Consulting’s settlement planners might make use of something known as a special needs trust, which would grant a plaintiff steady access to his or her settlement while preserving their government benefits eligibility.

Note that not every case will require a special needs trust; any plaintiff has various other settlement options at their disposal to ensure the full and proper preservation of their government benefits. Speaking to expert settlement planners—such as the team at Milestone Consulting—prior to concluding litigation is imperative. An attorney and his or her client will need to decide on a plan of action for the settlement money before it has been collected. Should the money be improperly administered, and an individual or family may lose access to all government benefits.

At Milestone, our consultants do their due diligence to ensure that we meet the immediate and future needs of each client once the settlement has been reached. After we have thoroughly determined what those needs are and what future needs the client may have, we finally move forward with formulating an appropriate settlement plan that will ensure government benefits preservation.