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Special Needs Planning and Guardianships

Lake Forest, IL Estate Planning Attorney David Lutrey answers the question, “Won’t providing money to a disabled adult child result in the loss of government benefits such as Social Security Disability?”

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This is partly true, yes, Social Security benefits are varied. There are some Social Security benefits that are not based on the amount of the money that the recipient has and some that are. SSDI is something that is not based on the amount of assets that the recipient has but SSI or supplemental security income is. And so, typically, a benefit for SSI might run in the $600.00-$1,200.00 a month range for a recipient and that can make a significant difference in a person’s life if they have a disability and are receiving that benefit. However, you can really along with certain other assets that re considered exempt you can really, only have about $2,000.00 in your name and qualify for SSI. So a good intention, a well-intentioned parent that wants to leave money for the benefit of a child who has a disability may be tempted to leave a lot of money for them but the problem is that that child would have to spend all that money down before going back and receiving benefits. And so we use certain kinds of trusts known as special needs trusts as a way to both accept gifts from parents and at the same time allow that person with a disability to continue to qualify for pubic financial aid.

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