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Should you consider a special needs trust?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2019 | Firm News

Between handling the complex requirements of Supplemental Security Income and planning ahead for your future, financial concerns when you have a disability often become complicated. Add in other income sources such as spousal support or a lump sum award from a personal injury suit, and the equation can be overwhelming. How can you cover your financial needs without disqualifying yourself from the government benefits you should receive? 

One option is a special needs trust. There are several different types of special needs trusts you can choose in Ohio, which may be a good fit if you are navigating additional income that would otherwise decrease your benefits. 

Decrease or loss of SSI benefits 

Unlike SSDI benefits, additional income decreases SSI benefits. For example, if you usually receive $500 in SSI each month and then begin to receive $300 in spousal support after a divorce, your SSI benefit would decrease to $220 a month. Depending on the financial situation of you and your ex-spouse, setting up a special needs trust may allow your ex-spouse to contribute the fair amount of spousal support without decreasing your SSI benefit. 

In other cases, you might receive a lump sum from an inheritance or other financial compensation that would push you above the resources eligibility threshold for receiving SSI benefits. 

Types of special needs trusts 

The most common special needs trusts are Medicaid payback trusts and supplemental services trusts. While certain expenses such as food, housing or utilities cannot come from the trust, both types of trusts allow you to pay for other necessary expenses such as: 

  • Education 
  • Medical costs 
  • Home health services 

In some cases, the state of Ohio requires that the beneficiary (the person receiving money from the trust) use all the trust funds before receiving the Supplemental Security Income once more. Make sure you consult with an attorney when setting up the trust to safeguard your financial future.