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FAQs About Special Needs Planning
What Does Special Needs Planning for My Loved One Entail?
You can take several steps to plan for a loved one with special needs or disability, including:
- Appointing a guardian to make decisions for your family member when they turn 18
- Establishing and funding a special needs trust with help from a special needs trust lawyer
- Applying for government benefits for your loved one
- Naming beneficiaries for your retirement accounts and life insurance policy
- Arranging future care for your loved one
Contact a special needs planning lawyer with our firm to learn more about special needs planning.
How Can My Loved One with Special Needs Qualify for Government Benefits?
An adult with special needs can qualify for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under certain circumstances. Requirements to be eligible for these government programs include the following:
- Assets and income below a certain level
- Diagnosis of specific disabilities or developmental delays
- A disability that affects a person's ability to work
In Florida, any person who qualifies for SSI is automatically eligible for Medicaid coverage. A special needs planning attorney with our firm can help you better understand qualifying for government benefits.
What Is a Special Needs Trust?
A Special Needs Trust (SNT) manages assets for a person with special needs. These trusts must keep the assets separate from the individual to qualify for SSI and Medicaid's income and asset limitations. Without diminishing your family member’s benefits, a Special Needs Trust can pay for things outside of the regular cost of living expenses.
Some people with special needs can perform limited work and earn their own income. Our special needs lawyers can help you determine an appropriate disbursement schedule for a special needs trust, factoring in your loved one's regular income.
What Is an ABLE Account?
The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) created ABLE accounts, a special savings account that can pay for more qualified disability expenses than an SNT. However, ABLE accounts have an annual contribution limit of $16,000.
If your loved one became disabled before age 26, they are eligible for an ABLE account. ABLE account funds can cover costs of living, education, transportation, support services, technology, and other comfort items and services.
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