Do I Need a Special Needs Trust To Protect My SSDI Benefit?

I am currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and my mother, with the help of her attorney, has set up a special needs trust for me. Do I necessarily need a special needs trust and would an inheritance jeopardize my SSDI income?

SSDI is not a needs-based benefit. If you are on that program for two years, you will also qualify for Medicare. Because SSDI is not needs-based, a special needs trust is not necessary to qualify for it.  However, depending on how much SSDI is paying you, you may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or you may qualify (or already qualify) for Medicaid. These are both needs-based benefits and a special needs trust would be required to keep them. It is also important to remember that Medicaid pays for certain things that Medicare will not, most importantly skilled nursing facility costs and some in-home caregiving. If you will ever need these services in the future, you may need to qualify for Medicaid. Thus, even if you do not need a special needs trust now, you may need one down the road.

Article Last Modified: 10/12/2015

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