Experienced Disability Lawyers in Tampa, FL
Whether you are already a recipient of social security benefits or are intending to secure such benefits at a later date, you may be concerned about how a personal injury lawsuit could impact your receipt of social security benefits. For example, suppose that you are receiving social security benefits (due to your inability to work) and are subsequently injured in a car accident — how might a personal injury settlement, or favorable court judgment, influence your benefits?
It’s worth noting that many social security beneficiaries will not have to worry about the interaction between their personal injury damage recovery and social security benefits. In cases where there is a conflict, there may also be alternative strategies for protecting those benefits.
Let’s take a closer look.
Potential Consequences for SSI and Medicaid
Social security benefits received through the Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) scheme are unaffected by any personal injury damages that the recipient is awarded. Personal injury recovery does not count as earned income, and therefore will not count against the receipt of SSDI benefits (or Medicare benefits).
On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid may be affected by a substantial personal injury settlement, as qualification for such benefits depends on the recipient remaining below a prescribed asset limit. In 2019, the asset limit for SSI claimants is $771 per month for individuals, and $1,157 per month for couples. As such, a substantial lump sum court judgment or settlement is very likely to put the claimant “over the limit” and preclude them from further benefits.
Using an Irrevocable Trust
An irrevocable trust could be an excellent tool for avoiding the negative impact of a lump sum damage award. There are a number of irrevocable trusts that you can utilize, including special needs trusts — these trusts allow you to establish a scheme of distribution and management of the assets at-issue, but require a more hands-off approach and ultimately move the assets beyond your direct control (thus allowing you to remain eligible for benefits). Given the removal of control, it’s important that you work with a skilled attorney who understands how to navigate the minefield of issues and establish a strategic plan most suitable for your specific circumstances.
Questions? Contact the Office of Mike Murburg, P.A. for a Free Consultation
Attorney Mike Murburg has spent more than three decades fighting for the rights of those who have been disabled (whether due to injury, psychological issues, or some other condition, and has helped numerous clients acquire and maintain critical social security benefits to cover their expenses.
Unlike many of our competitors, we work closely with clients to more fully understand their goals and limitations, as well as the unique circumstances surrounding their disability. This gives us the insight necessary to provide truly tailored representation to each client.
Interested in learning more about how we can help? Call 813-264-5363 or send us a message online to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled Tampa disability lawyers today.