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Safeguarding benefits for children with disabilities

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Caring for a child with disabilities requires attention, patience, and understanding. Ensuring that these children receive the proper benefits they need for their well-being is a top priority for parents and guardians.

Thus, it is important to know how to protect benefits for children with disabilities.

Understanding government benefits

Two primary government programs support children with disabilities: Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Both programs provide essential financial assistance and healthcare coverage to families with children who have special needs.

SSI is a federal program that offers financial assistance to children with disabilities. This program considers the family’s income and resources and the severity of the child’s disability. Parents must provide medical documentation and meet income eligibility requirements to qualify for this benefit.

Medicaid is a state-run healthcare program that offers coverage for children with disabilities. Eligibility for Medicaid varies by state, but it typically considers the family’s income and the child’s medical needs. Some states also have Medicaid waiver programs that cover additional services for children with disabilities.

Protecting benefits through special needs trusts

One way to protect benefits for a child with disabilities is by creating a special needs trust. A special needs trust is a legal arrangement designed to hold and manage assets for the benefit of a person with disabilities.

When parents or guardians establish a special needs trust, they ensure that the assets within the trust do not disqualify the child from receiving government benefits such as SSI and Medicaid. The trust should be created by a knowledgeable professional who understands the specific rules and regulations governing special needs trusts.

The trustee, a person appointed to manage the trust, can use the funds within the trust to pay for the child’s supplemental needs. These needs can include education, therapy, transportation and other expenses not covered by government benefits.