If you are injured in an accident and your personal injury attorney settles your case; when you receive funds it may disqualify you from government benefit programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Social Security Income (“SSI”). However, your attorney can work with you to create a “special needs” trust that fits your circumstances or those of your loved one which will not only set funds aside for you (him/her) but will allow you to continue with your governmental benefits.
Once you have settled your injury case you now are faced with the reality that in order to keep your Medicaid, SSI or similar benefits you have to turn your money over to a trust – with someone else as Trustee. This can be confusing and perhaps even insulting.
This is done with what is known as “Special Needs Trust” which must be written in accordance with certain requirements specified by federal and State laws. This will allow you to set aside funds required for your care and supplemental needs necessary for the person who is disabled and receiving governmental support but allow access on a needs based benefit program to provide care and support services. Despite the fact that you have these benefits if done in accordance with the law you still will be eligible for your needs based programs. These funds will be held in a special trust available for the medical and dental expenses not covered by your program, for insurance, educational expenses, vacations and various life enhancing expenses other than food and rent. There are several trusts in the State of Indiana which your personal injury attorney will work with to create this trust. The goal for the Trustee is generally to maximize his discretion in order to protect the underlying assets. Such trust will likely be immune to the claims of creditors and protect the trust from claims of Medicaid agencies and other third parties. Generally you will have no control over the trust assets.
By placing your assets in a Special Needs Trust you can choose to spend your money at your own pace on items and services that you actually need and want. The various trust programs available in the State of Indiana will offer you a combination of legal expertise, experience with governmental agencies and usually a trustee who is compassionate and understanding such as Special Needs Intregrity, Inc.
Once your attorney contacts a potential trustee a determination will be made whether or not a Special Needs Trust may be right for you. Once that decision has been made you will have the opportunity to discuss in detail the trust, how it operates and what the benefits are before placing your money in trust. Once the decision is made for you to do it you’ll have to enter into an agreement and a court order if needed (sometimes needed if the person is under a guardianship) will be obtained. After these things are done your attorney will settle your case, draft a check made payable to the Trustee in your name and you will have established an account. Thereafter the Trustee will be able to respond to your disbursement requests.
So once the money is in Trust? The question becomes what can you do with the money? Surprisingly, a Special Needs Trust can be a lot more flexible than you may think. It is true that federal and state regulations govern how a Special Needs Trust can be used and are very complex. However, there are many “services” that the Trust will pay for including among other things cell phone bills, internet, insurance payments, dental and eye care, hair care, transportation, auto repair, field trips, utilities; and as well pay for purchasing “goods” including vehicles, clothing, furniture, personal care items, dietary needs, household products, school tuition, gasoline and the like. This list limited because of the space needed to list all the potential products; however these benefits can be found online at the above “Special Needs Integrity website.”
The attorneys at the law office of William “Bill” Hurst we are committed to assisting individuals with special needs along with family members who care for them in fulfilling secure lives. We understand that building security for someone with special needs is a family affair. Our attorneys can help you pursue your personal injury claim and safeguard the results with special needs planning if needed. You may contact us for a free consultation or call us at 1-800-636-0808. We will handle your personal injury basis on a contingency basis which means that you do not have to pay us anything unless we recover for you.