Special  needs planning  is the practice of planning for families with disabled persons. If you have a person who is disabled you can insure that your loved ones are provided for with proper planning. Our attorneys are experienced in the area of special needs planning and will create a plan that will protect the disabled person so that the person does not lose any government benefits, if he/she inherits assets. 

Government Programs
Disabled individuals in New York are entitled to receive government benefits to assist them with medical costs and incidental costs of living. The most common programs are Medicaid, Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI), and Social Security Disability (SSD). Each program has stringent eligibility requirements and provide different benefits to recipients.

Medicaid covers most health care costs. SSI was created to provide supplemental income to the financially needy elderly, blind, and disabled. These programs have maximum asset and income levels in order to be eligible. SSD pays benefits to disabled individuals who are unable to maintain employment as a result of physical or mental disability.  In order to be eligible for SSD you must have paid into the social security system and accumulated work credits. Unlike SSI and Medicaid, there are no asset or income thresholds for SSD.

Children and adults with disabilities often receive government benefits which are only available if that person's assets and income are below certain thresholds. The right estate plan can provide for a disabled person while maintaining his or her eligibility for these benefits. 

Supplemental  Needs Trusts
Supplemental needs trusts are used to provide for the needs of a person who is disabled and receives or may receive SSI or Medicaid. Assets in the supplemental needs trust can be used for the benefit of the individual but it does not affect that person's eligibility for SSI and Medicaid.  The assets in the trust can pay for wants and needs not covered by government benefits.

If there are proceeds from a personal injury lawsuit or a disabled  individual  receives an inheritance, the special needs trust is a tool that protects the money for the lifetime of the disabled individual while allowing that individual to maintain his or her access to Medicaid and SSI. Supplemental needs trusts can be established in your will so they will take effect upon your death or they can be established to be effective immediately if the disabled person receives money from an inheritance or accident. The most suitable method of establishing a supplemental needs trust is dictated by the circumstances of each client. 

Financial and Medical Decisions
When your disabled child turns 18 years of age, you no longer have the legal authority  to make financial and medical decisions for him/her. In order to manage his/her affairs you will need to become his legal guardian.Upon fulfilling all of the Court's requirements, you will be given the legal authority to make these important decisions. During this proceeding you can also seek the appointment of a standby guardian to replace you, should you no longer be able to serve.

Call 631-.581-1700 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

Special Needs Planning