If you have a child with special needs or a family member who receives government assistance, like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you may be able to offer them financial security without jeopardizing their eligibility for these important benefits.
People who receive government assistance risk losing their eligibility for important benefits if their assets exceed a certain amount. By working with an Ohio special needs attorney to create a Special Needs Trust, your family member may be able to receive a gift or inheritance while preserving their eligibility for Medicaid or SSI.
At Wolfe Legal Services, I help people with disabilities or other special needs remain eligible for government aid programs by creating a Special Needs Trust. To learn more about trusts in general and whether you could benefit from one, contact me at Wolfe Legal Services.
Ohio allows for the creation of different kinds of Special Needs Trusts. Because a Special Needs Trust is complicated to set up and must adhere to very specific requirements, it’s important that you work with a skilled and experienced Ohio trust attorney.
A Medicaid Payback Trust allows an individual with disabilities or other special needs to receive assets without losing their eligibility for Medicaid, SSI, or other government benefits. A Medicaid Payback Trust is funded by assets received by the trust beneficiary, often through an inheritance, gift, or personal injury settlement or jury award. A Medicaid Payback Trust can also be used when a person receives a lump-sum Social Security payment, or when a person’s resources are too high and could jeopardize eligibility for government assistance.
The beneficiary of a Medicaid Payback Trust must be under age 65 when the trust is created, and must be diagnosed with a disability as defined by Title II of the Social Security Act. The trust must specify that any remaining funds left in the trust at the time of the death of the beneficiary will be used to reimburse the State of Ohio for Medicaid services that were previously provided (the “Payback” provision).
A Pooled Trust is similar to a Medicaid Payback trust, and may be preferable when the person with a disability receives a smaller amount of assets. In a Pooled Trust, a nonprofit organization serves as the trustee and the assets are pooled with others, with separate accounts maintained for each individual. There are no age restrictions on a Pooled Trust, and the State of Ohio must be repaid for Medicaid services previously provided upon the death of the trust beneficiary.
A Supplemental Services Trust is not funded by the assets of the beneficiary, but instead is created using assets from another person. For example, a parent can leave assets to benefit of a child with special needs after the parent’s death. A Supplemental Services Trust is a type of testamentary trust that is created for the benefit of someone eligible for services under the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Department of Mental Health. As with other types of Special Needs Trust, assets in a Supplemental Services Trust can only be used for supplemental services and, upon the death of the beneficiary, a portion of the remaining assets which cannot be less than 50 percent must be returned to the state of Ohio to be used for the benefits of others who do not have such a trust.
In each of these trust arrangements, the beneficiary can only use trust assets for qualified expenses like medical and dental bills, education, rehabilitation, computer equipment, and home health aides. The trustee cannot use trust assets for things like food, housing, utilities, insurance, or cash payments to the trust beneficiary.
If you have a family member or loved one with special needs who you think could benefit from a Special Needs Trust, contact Wolfe Legal Services today. Call (614) 263-5297 any time or complete our online form.
I work with people throughout greater Columbus, including Dublin, Bexley, Upper Arlington, Marysville, Hilliard, Delaware, and Newark, and throughout Franklin County, Delaware County, Union County, and Licking County.