Families with special needs children have unique challenges to navigate. Everyone wants their child to live a full, productive, and rewarding life. Each child is different, and parents consider other factors to allow their children to achieve that.
For parents of special needs children, one of those is understanding Supplemental Security Income. Not only is it essential to get it for your children (when applicable), but it is just as important as ensuring they continue to have it. It is a tremendous resource for your child to make use of. You don’t want to accidentally jeopardize their eligibility—even when your intentions are rooted in a desire to protect your child.
Because your children may grow up and rely on this SSI, you must consider this when drafting your estate plan.
Supplemental Security Income is not the same as Social Security benefits–despite how SSI is administered by Social Security. And people who receive SSI may also get Social Security benefits. There are primary and fundamental differences between the two.
Social Security is something people pay into throughout their working lives. SSI, however, is funded by taxes and is given to those who are blind or disabled. Disabled people are people whose condition could result in death or are unable to pursue gainful employment.
People who are 65 and older who are living on restricted incomes may be eligible as well. Other requirements include:
- Being a U.S. citizen
- Having limited incomes and resources (more in the next section)
- Lives in the U.S. permanently
- Does not live in a government-funded institution
The institution being referred to would be most closely related to a hospital. Many disabled adults live in communal homes with live-in care. That fact, by itself, would not disqualify them from SSI.
How To Lose SSI
There are several ways in which someone can lose their SSI. This includes everything from displaying medical improvement to reaching retirement age. But more specifically, people who receive SSI have a limit to how much income they can earn. Secondly, their assets cannot exceed $2000.
Why are these numbers significant? When you draft an estate plan, these numbers are of vital importance. Parents worked to obtain SSI for their children because they wanted a degree of comfort knowing their children have a means of generating income.
Because their assets and income have to fall below a specific threshold, you can disrupt that—inadvertently—by leaving a special needs adult something of significant value, such as a home.
Matus Law Group
At the Matus Law Group, we want to help you draft an estate plan that not only provides for the special needs person in your life. And we can work towards achieving this without disrupting vital benefits such as SSI. If you have further questions or would like to meet, contact us today to set up a consultation.
We look forward to discovering how we can assist you and your family.