Why would you want to draft a special needs trust for your disabled child? By creating a special needs trust or supplemental needs trust, you may be able to ensure that your dependent child or family member is able to avoid becoming inadvertently disqualified from receiving financial support from the state and federal governments. In other words, by creating a special needs trust, you can help your special needs child or family member continue receiving monetary and medical government benefits without regard to legal monetary qualification and income limits.
Specifically, the Social Security Administration administers the federal Social Security Act of 1935. This act allows your loved ones with special needs to apply for Social Security disability benefits in limited circumstances. Generally, the Social Security Administration limits provide those with permanent and serious disabilities monthly financial benefits for necessities, including shelter and clothing, separate health insurance benefits and food stamps upon a showing of financial and medical need during the application process. Supplemental Security Income or “SSI” helps those with limited incomes and insufficient work credits who are able to prove the existence of a long-term disability, those who are permanently blind, and those who are age 65 or older.
To qualify for SSI, your special needs child or other family member must have a limited income and limited assets. Typically, the administration limits assets to $2,000, but excludes a primary residence and a vehicle for work or medical reasons. Because your estate assets may count toward the income threshold if you bequeathed it (gave it) to your special needs child, you may want to avoid unintentionally disqualifying your child from receiving governmental assistance. You can do this by asking your probate attorney to help you draft a special needs trust or supplemental needs trust to benefit your child without disqualifying him from receiving federal SSI benefits.