Special Needs Trusts and SSI Eligibility
Work With an Experienced Tampa Disability Attorney
If you’re interested in applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, or if you already receive SSI benefits but are concerned about continuing eligibility, then it’s important to understand how to use different tools to maintain your eligibility. Proper planning can help you to avoid losing out on benefits. This may include working with an attorney to develop a special needs trust to ensure that you are provided for financially (without losing out on critical SSI benefits).
Let’s take a closer look.
The Trust-SSI Dynamic
SSI benefits are only available to those claimants who maintain an income level below the applicable limit. In 2021, that limit was set at $794 per month for single people and $1,191 per month for married persons.
If you are earning more than the limit, then you may be rendered ineligible for SSI. It’s worth noting that certain assets may also count against your monthly income limit.
So what can you do if you are earning more than the applicable monthly income limit for SSI benefits? Fortunately, special needs trusts (SNTs) can help.
Special needs trusts allow for the creation of a separate entity that funnels financial resources towards you, but only for specific use-cases — for the “sole benefit” of the disabled individual.
For example, an SNT will allow you to use the funds to pay for certain goods, such as clothes and entertainment. They can also be used to pay for medical costs and education, as well as travel costs.
Alternatives May Be Available
A special needs trust is not the only means by which an SSI claimant can maintain their eligibility. It’s worth noting that not all income is counted for the purposes of SSI eligibility, and some assets may not be included in the evaluation (i.e., some of the value of a vehicle). It’s worth consulting with a qualified attorney for a full and comprehensive assessment of what income will be counted towards your SSI eligibility — in some cases, a special needs trust may not be necessary.
Even where eligibility is an issue, new tools may be available. For example, it may be possible to create a special savings account (that meets federal requirements allowing for the assets to not be counted as income for the purposes of SSI eligibility).
Contact Murburg Law for Assistance
Here at Murburg Law, we have decades of experience representing Social Security disability claimants throughout the state of Florida. We regularly assist those who are attempting to maintain their SSI eligibility.
Over the years, Attorney Murburg has helped clients manage their SSI benefits eligibility through the creation of special needs trusts and by taking advantage of other available legal mechanisms. Our commitment to client-centered advocacy is fundamental to our success. It is our belief that every client has unique concerns and preferences that must be addressed throughout the advocacy process.
If you’d like to speak to an experienced Tampa disability attorney about your SSI eligibility and how you can maintain it, call 813-264-5363 or submit a message through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
We look forward to assisting you.