Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Special Needs Trusts Protect SSI

SSI
Family members often look after young and adult children living with disabilities, especially those born with special needs conditions. Parents who give birth to a child with Down’s syndrome or autism know that more will be required from them in practically every aspect of life, if their child is going to succeed. With that in mind, pointing out the obvious is helpful, nobody’s parents live forever; a reality not lost on the parents of special needs children.

The parents of special needs children have a burning question in their mind. Who will look after their offspring when they are gone? Naturally, there are several government programs in place that assist people with disabilities financially, such Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Social Security Administration (SSA) programs can make all the difference for people unable to work for a living. Medicaid covers the costs of health bills.

It’s vital that parents plan wisely for when they are no longer around, the choices you make today could drastically impact the quality of your adult children’s lives in the future. A large number of parents need to consider life after death, given that over 40 million Americans had a disability in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Some experts have offer guidance on the subject for said parents.

“We don't expect anybody else to do what we do for our child, so while we're still here, we want to try and have some peace of mind that everything will be OK,” the president of the Special Needs Alliance, Brian N. Rubin, tells USA Today.

Parents of Adult Children with Special Needs


Hopefully, other members of the family can oversee the care of an adult child with special needs after you are gone. They can help with making decisions that your son or daughter can’t make on their own. You may need another member of the family to act as trustee for a special needs trust.

If you are planning on leaving an adult child with special needs a financial inheritance, it’s critical that you do so wisely. In fact, how you go about it is of the utmost importance; incorrectly going about it can severely impact SSA benefits, according to USA Today. Attorney Jay Roberts, a special needs planning expert, points out that a person must have under $2,000 in assets to qualify for SSI. Having access to more than that could disqualify a person from government benefits program that covers substantial medical costs each year.

With the above information in mind, parents need to consider special needs, or supplemental needs, trusts, according to the article. A trust will allow parents to leave an inheritance without jeopardizing government benefits. There are also ABLE Accounts; a tax-advantaged savings account permitting up to $100,000. An ABLE Account will not impact government benefits.

“Those trusts will essentially protect any assets held for the benefit of the children,” Robert says.

SSDI and SSI Attorney


Attorney Stephanie Driscoll can assist you with applying and qualifying for disability benefits. If you or a loved one’s claim received a denial, we could help you appeal the decision. Please contact us today.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Disability Recipients Shouldn't Be Stigmatized

disability
Regular readers of our blog know that at the Driscoll Law Corporation our specialty is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each week, we work tirelessly to ensure our clients can access financial security provided by the Social Security Administration. Such people, more times than not, are individuals who have either experienced a debilitating injury or they have received a diagnosis for a disorder; in both cases, one's ability to maintain financial independence is a real challenge.

In the United States, there is a significant number of people who have negative opinions about Federal and state assistance programs. What’s more, there is a serious stigma toward people who receive benefits like SSDI and SSI; many people have the mindset that some benefit recipients are lazy and are bilking a flawed welfare system. Sadly, the previously mentioned outlook is flawed, to say the least; in fact, the average benefit recipient would like nothing more than to go back to work. 

In 2017, The Washington Post analyzed the increase of disability programs in rural America. The news organization published a series of stories shining a light on the subject matter. Naturally, people from around the country who are living with disabilities gave their feedback; they shared about the stigma surrounding disability benefit recipients. Through correspondence with such individuals, WAPO gleaned that many SSI and SSDI recipients muster the strength to work part-time or volunteer their services; in doing so, they can continue contributing to society and live productive lives.


Disabled Americans Stay Busy In Spite of Handicaps



The best way to erode stigma is to accurately represent the lives of people living with conditions that prevent full-time work. In doing so, we encourage people who aren’t living with a disability to exercise compassion. When that happen, people vote in favor legislation that helps people rather than harm the most vulnerable of Americans.

Below you will find a snapshot of the lives of a couple of individuals who receive SSA benefits; you will see that these people are not lazy, it’s the opposite in fact.

Richard Lamb, 57, a retired senior systems administrator for Boeing and Microsoft, receives financial assistance from SSDI and the Department of Veterans Affairs due to hearing loss, according to the article. In 2011, Lamb was forced to take early retirement because of myalgic encephalomyelitis, an autonomic and neurological disease which causes extreme fatigue. Lamb said:

“I’m very active at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and participate in two different research projects there. That’s been helpful for me, because I think one of the things I really struggle with is finding a method to give back that doesn’t kill me."

Sarah Schwegel, 24, has spinal muscular atrophy Type II, for which she receives SSDI benefits, the article reports. Sarah is currently attending Saint Louis University for a master’s degree in public administration. When she is not in class, she works [15 hours a week] in the Political Science Department at her school or is volunteering with organizations that assist disabled people in finding independence. Schwegel says:

“I decided to go to grad school for public administration so that eventually one day I can either work in a nonprofit to help people with disabilities, or I can run for office or work as a bureaucrat in Medicaid or something.” 

Disability can impact anyone for many reasons. Just because someone receives financial support, doesn’t mean that they lack the desire to work or give back to society. Some disabled people collecting SSI or SSDI work more than many non-injured Americans.


Disability Attorney


Attorney Stephanie Driscoll assists people with the lengthy and complicated process of applying and qualifying for disability benefits. If you or a loved one’s claim received a denial, we could help you appeal the decision. Please contact us today.