When you have a disabled child, you likely are his or her primary caretaker and provider for all of his or her financial needs. You know that it is very possible that your child may outlive you, which raises questions as to the financial security of your child in the future, given the fact that he or she is disabled. While there a number of different ways to handle this situation, there is at least one option that allows you to provide sufficient funds for your child’s future, while still ensuring that he or she remains eligible for any public benefits that are available to assist with his or her care.
A special needs or supplemental needs trust is one way to provide your child with financial support without jeopardizing his or her entitlement to public benefits. For example, the most common need for public assistance for a disabled individual is Medicaid benefits to cover his or her medical needs and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to cover other basic needs, such as housing. However, there are strict income limits in order to be eligible for Medicaid, and income and resource limits to receive SSI benefits. Simply setting up a bank account for your child or leaving a large inheritance to provide for your child is likely to result in the loss of his or her Medicaid and/or SSI benefits. If you place the funds in a valid special needs trust under Washington law, the funds will not affect Medicaid or SSI eligibility, and your child will still be able to benefit from those funds.
Your disabled child (or his or her guardian) can utilize the funds in a special needs trust for any expenses, except those expense that are covered by public benefits. For instance, if your child receives Medicaid, then the Medicaid program pays for his or her medical care. Likewise, SSI benefits pay for your child’s housing costs. Funds from a special need trust typically are used to supplement and pay for other expenses, such as personal care items, transportation, education, furniture and other items of personal property, and clothing.
At Elder Law Group PLLC, we know that making provisions for the future care of your disabled child can be very stressful and emotional. Allow us to take some of the burden of this situation from you and your family by allowing us to help you create a plan that addresses all of your child’s needs, no matter what the circumstances may be. As skilled Tri-Cities Estate Planning lawyers, we are here to give you the legal advice about the best options that are available to meet your goals and objectives for the future care of your child. Contact us at 509.468.0551 to schedule an appointment.