One of our focuses at Wright Wealth is helping families with special needs. A special needs parent himself, Jeff understands the unique needs and circumstances of special needs families.
If you are an individual with a disability who holds an ABLE account, your annual contributions to this type of account generally must not exceed $17,000 a year, as of 2023. However, ABLE account owners who are employed can contribute their work income to this type of account beyond the typical $17,000 annual threshold until the end of 2025.
Children with disabilities whose parents are veterans, living or dead, may be entitled to government support- whether for health care costs, vocational training, or in the form of survivor benefits.
Many parents and families planning for the care of their loved one with special needs will consider setting up a special needs trust. (Special needs trusts are also often referred to as supplemental needs trusts and SNTs). These trusts allow assets to be left to a disabled or chronically ill person without disqualifying them for certain benefits, such as Medicaid.
Funds held in a properly drafted special needs trust (SNT) will not affect a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid recipient’s benefits. However, funds disbursed in a manner that violates SSI or Medicaid rules can impact these benefits. It is important to understand what an SNT can and cannot pay for in order to avoid this.
By their very nature, special needs trusts (SNTs) are usually designed to terminate, or at least radically change, when the trust's primary beneficiary dies. But terminating a special needs trust is not as simple as merely writing a check to the remainder beneficiaries and calling it a day. There are several key considerations and requirements to keep in mind.
If a person with special needs has assets -- perhaps from a lawsuit award or settlement or from a gift or inheritance – those assets can disqualify the person from receiving essential public benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A special needs trust can allow the person with special needs – the trust’s beneficiary -- to remain eligible for needs-based public benefits while at the same time preserving the assets to enhance the beneficiary’s quality of life.
When retirement looms, many military families with children with special needs face a decision about whether or not to choose the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) retirement option. Receipt of SBP payments could jeopardize the child's eligibility for SSI and Medicaid.
Once a person becomes a guardian, they should be aware of their responsibilities. Since the ward loses significant rights, guardians must promote their autonomy to the fullest possible extent. Guardians must make decisions, such as moving the ward across states, in the ward’s best interests.