When someone you care about has a significant disability making sure their needs are met can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are government benefit programs which can make a world of difference in terms of paying for medical care and providing income. While you may have heard of Medi-Cal, Social Security Income, and Social Security Disability, it can be difficult to know what these programs offer and how they can help support your loved one in the future. Here are some considerations regarding Social Security Disability and your special needs plan.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program which pays a financial benefit to qualifying applicants. SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. If you have a special needs child, SSDI could be an essential part of your special needs plan. This is because the SSDI program pays benefits to adults who have a disability that began before they turned 22-years-old. The benefit is paid based on the parent’s earning record. To qualify, the child’s parent must be receiving Social Security or disability benefits or must have worked enough to be eligible for Social Security. A child who qualifies for SSDI will be eligible as long as he or she remains disabled. Although there are no income limitations for qualifying for SSDI, the payment amount may or may not be sufficient to meet the recipient’s care needs.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another Social Security program that pays a monthly benefit for qualifying applicants with certain disabilities. However, unlike SSDI, this benefit is income sensitive meaning the recipient is extremely limited in terms of their permissible assets and income. Those who receive SSI typically also qualify for Medi-Cal and other supplemental benefits. Under both SSI and SSDI, the qualifying individual cannot engage in “substantial” work and must have a condition that has lasted or is expected either to continue for at least 12 months or to result in death. In some cases, an individual with a special need may receive SSDI and SSI.
Although SSDI and SSI have different requirements, government programs seldom provide enough of a benefit for the recipient to live comfortably. Depending on the individual’s disability, his or her care and medical needs may be substantial. In both situations, it is a good idea to plan to supplement the income from SSDI and SSI. However, it is vital that you prepare with the advice of an experienced special needs planning attorney. Otherwise, you risk making mistakes which could cost you loved one critical benefits or keep them from having necessary resources.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have the experience with California special needs planning and can help you prepare for your loved one’s future needs. Schedule a free consultation today to start planning your solution.