Special Needs Trusts Planning

After a lawsuit settles, a special needs trust can be established to prevent plaintiffs from losing benefits from certain government programs. When an individual receives an influx of income—whether it is from a settlement or an inheritance—this money can make the recipient ineligible for certain government benefits programs. In many cases, however, these individuals may still need access to programs such as Supplementary Security Income (SSI), Veterans Aid and Attendance, Medicaid, and government housing. Often, the funds from a settlement won’t be enough to offset the loss of this aid. This is where Milestone Consulting’s special needs trust services come into play. A settlement planner can help you establish a special needs trust, ensuring that plaintiffs can make the most of their settlement while maintaining the care and protection they need.

What Is a Special Needs Trust and Why Is It Used?

Individuals who require the aid of various government benefits, such as SSI or Medicaid, can only take advantage of these benefits if they meet various criteria. One of these criteria involves limited access to income or resources. If an aid recipient has suddenly come into more money as a result of a personal injury lawsuit, they will lose their access to these resources as they technically no longer qualify. A special needs trust (SNT) can be established to pay out supplementary income only, ensuring continuity of aid benefits. Special needs trusts are intended to supplement, rather than replace, a person’s government benefits by paying for services or equipment that SSI and Medicaid do not cover. The supplementary income paid out by the SNT can be used towards paying certain “non-countable” services, expenses, and property. These include the purchase of a home, home furnishings, a vehicle, personal belongings, life insurance policies, burial expenses, various other essentials, and all schooling and training one might pursue.

When Can Someone Use a Special Needs Trust?

Because its sole purpose is to ensure the preservation of existing government benefits, anyone who currently claims government aid or benefits can make use of a special needs trust. This can also be useful for individuals that may not yet take advantage of such aid programs but who know that they will have to in the future.

Before Establishing a Special Needs Trust

When considering the option of a special needs trust, the most important decisions you have to make include selecting the right special needs trust for you or your family, choosing the right trustee, and consulting with a settlement planner before its establishment. One of our experienced settlement planners can help ensure complete continuity of government benefits and they can ensure that no considerations go overlooked, including the selection of a trust protector, selection of a trustee, and more. If you’re afraid that a recent settlement may impact your government benefits eligibility, contact the professionals at Milestone Consulting today for special needs trust services—we’re happy to help.