Those who live with a mental disability face challenges each and every day that the rest of us rarely consider. Living with any disability can be exceptionally costly, and many individuals who do depend on Social Security and Medicaid benefits to keep the costs manageable. However, these programs are generally based need demonstrated by individual income, which is where things can get a bit tricky.
Let’s assume that a person is living with a mental disability and has also been fortunate enough to be the beneficiary of ongoing payouts from a trust set up for him or her by a parent or some other party. Of course, this is great news, right? Well, yes and no.
Of course, it is great news that the individual has been given a leg up by someone who cares about them, but that is not the end of the story. In some cases, the very gift that someone made to help them may end up hurting them in the long run if proper precautions were not taken. The trust payouts may be large enough or frequent enough to disqualify the individual from receiving some or all of the government benefits necessary to keep the wheels turning.
In Pennsylvania, the matter is not as clear cut as in other states. Some forms of assistance have requirements that are written in a way that is vague and may not be interpreted consistently. If you or someone you love is living with a disability and depending on government benefits while also receiving income from a trust, it is vital to get the help you need to ensure that your future is secure.
With proper legal guidance, you can fight to ensure that government benefits are not disrupted by trust payouts that may be construed as income that disqualifies you from continued assistance. The last thing you want is to lose the help you need because of the well-intentioned kindness of someone who cared for you enough to create a trust on your behalf. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this tricky area and protect your interests and rights.
Source: The Legal Intelligencer, “Eligibility of Beneficiaries of Third-Party Trusts for Public Benefits,” Bradley J. Kitlowski, Feb. 23, 2017