A child’s financial future can be daunting in and of itself but adding in special needs for your loved one can create additional nerves and anxiety. Parents often have critical questions about who will care for the child and how the child’s needs will still be met in conjunction with qualification for government services. Parents of special needs children are often quite involved in the day-to-day work with those kids, but planning ahead into the future requires looking beyond your role as a parent now.
Originally, joining Medicaid was one of the only ways that individuals with special needs would be able to get health coverage, however, a person’s financial resources must be limited in order to qualify for Medicaid. In the event that a person tried to transfer money they already had to someone else to meet the resource eligibility, they could be subject to up to a 60 month look back meaning that they would be ineligible for SSI or Medicaid for up to 5 years after the transfer. One primary option to get around this was to generate a special needs trust.
Individuals with disabilities could put money inside a special needs trust without triggering the look back period in Medicaid and without having that money count towards their resource limits for SSI or Medicaid eligibility. This means that those individuals who relied on Medicaid for their healthcare expenses would still have access to those services to help beyond what the government would provide. Special needs planning requires a lot of work in advance and a careful sit down meeting with an experienced estate planning lawyer who has expertise in helping families of children with special needs.
There are many different questions that must be answered and careful and clear aspects of future planning must be incorporated when looking to help someone who is struggling with special needs.