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When a child has a significant disability, it can have a profound effect on everyone in the family. Parents, who are devoted to doing all that they can to meet their child’s complex needs while they are growing up, usually have serious uncertainties about their child’s future. Fortunately, by planning ahead, you can create a secure future for your disabled child.

Government Benefits

Depending on your child’s condition, he or she may not be able to work or meaningfully provide for their needs. In this instance, they may have a qualifying disability which allows them to get Medi-Cal (California Medicaid), Social Security Income (SSI), or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, Medi-Cal and SSI are income-sensitive meaning that if a person has too much money or too many valuable assets, he or she will no longer be eligible to receive program benefits. Losing this coverage could be devastating for a recipient. While SSDI is not income-sensitive, not everyone will qualify for this benefit, and once more, the payment amount may not be enough to provide for the recipient’s needs. Additionally, public benefits rarely meet all of a recipient’s requirements. Fortunately, with careful planning, parents can help supplement their child’s essential public benefits without endangering their program eligibility.

California Special Needs Trusts

California parents who wish to provide supplemental payment for their child’s needs may have the option of creating a California special needs trust. This unique legal device allows a government benefit recipient to receive payments in order to cover specific expenses. Ordinarily, trust disbursements would count as income to the recipient which, depending on the amount, would be disqualifying. However, someone with a qualifying condition can use their California special needs trust payments without the payments being counted against them. However, it is essential to consult with an experienced California special needs trust attorney when creating your trust to make sure it is drafted in a manner which complies with federal and California law, is of the greatest benefit to the recipient, and protects trust assets.

Practical Considerations

Although your child may be able to live at home comfortably and safely now, the time may come when he or she will need to transition into a skilled nursing or assisted living environment. Your child may also have a condition which allows for community living in a group setting or allows them to benefit from specialized community programs. Finding the right place for their needs can take time. Further, the best programs and facilities may be in another city or town from where you currently live. It would be best to start exploring the options so that you can be prepared for their possible future developments and needs.

By preparing for the future parents of a disabled child can have the peace of mind of knowing that their child’s needs will be addressed today and in the future.

At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have experience creating California special needs trust and assisting clients in planning for their children’s future needs. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation today so we can help you explore your options and start your solution. /