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Governmental Benefit Programs:

by Jeffrey H. Minde, Esq.

Louis J. Cohn, Contributor

Every disabled adult is entitled to Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid at the minimum, and possibly Social Security and Medicare as well.

Supplemental Security recipients are permitted to hold only a maximum amount of $2,000.00 in assets in their own name. The existence of a Special Needs Trust avoids this difficulty. Likewise, monies which are paid to the disabled individual directly may be deemed as income to the disabled individual, and thus the disabled individual may lose one dollar of governmental benefit for every two dollars of income.

A similar dilemma occurs when parents provide in-kind support and maintenance for a disabled adult. Social Security will diminish the monthly benefit and will consider the in-kind support as income to the disabled adult. Social Security will then subtract one dollar for every two dollars of in-kind support provided to the disabled adult. The easiest solution, one which will increase benefits, is to have parents present their adult disabled family members with a bill each month, representing their "fair share" of the cost of home expenses and maintenance of the disabled adult. Parents can require that the disabled adult pay these costs from their governmental benefits. If governmental benefits are insufficient to pay the monthly fair share, then after a period of approximately ninety (90) days, the disabled adult may request that the Social Security Administration provide additional funds to the disabled recipient to provide for the costs of support and maintenance. Under these circumstances the fair share for the support and maintenance of the disabled adult must be less than the maximum benefit amount payable by the Social Security Administration. At this time, Supplemental Security Income pays approximately six hundred dollars per month. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can pay a larger benefit, based on the disabled person's work history.


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