Special Needs Planning comes into play in several different situations. You may be the parent or grandparent of a child with special needs concerned about what may happen to the child when you are no longer able to provide and care for them. You may be an adult who has suffered a disability as the result of an accident or disease concerned about your future care and independence.
Many times, individuals with special needs become recipients of public benefits, especially Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs, however, are means-tested and only provide for basic needs and may not provide for services that would give you or your loved one a better quality of life.
Providing money and assets to the individual with special needs, whether outright during life or as a bequest in a will, may prevent him/her from qualifying for or terminate existing essential benefits under Medicaid and SSI. Sometimes an individual client might be the recipient of a sum of money from a personal injury lawsuit that would render the person ineligible for public benefits or terminate existing benefits for a period as a result of direct receipt of those monies.
A Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT) is used as a planning tool to preserve an individual’s eligibility for Medicaid and/or SSI while, at the same time, providing a fund to supplement the services and benefits provided to the individual under those programs. The SNT allows the individual to have an improved quality of life by providing for additional care and services.
Ms. Allen helps clients understand their options, and works in collaboration with other professionals to advocate for her clients.