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Lawyer in Dunn Explains Special Needs Trusts to Protect a Child’s SSDI Benefits

If you’ve worked through the disability benefits process with a Social Security attorney in Dunn, your disabled child may be receiving monthly benefits. As the parent of a disabled child, you may be tasked with handling his or her finances to ensure all needs are met. But what happens to that financial responsibility when the parents are no longer able to care for the child? 

A family wishing to protect their disabled loved one in the future will set up a special needs trust to provide the child with benefits in addition to what is provided by the government. 

How a Special Needs Trust Protects Disability Benefits 

A special needs trust or supplemental trust is a special fund that you can establish for your disabled child to ensure funds are provided for his or her benefit. Social Security disability benefits he or she receives, as well as any other government assistance program benefits, may be protected. 

Once established, the special needs trust will provide benefits to the child beyond what he or she may qualify to receive through government programs. The funds may also be protected from divorce or lawsuits. No matter what happens to the parents, the disabled child’s financial assets will be protected through the trust. 

By providing funds to the trust instead of the child directly, your child may continue to qualify for any government assistance programs such as: 

  • Social Security;
  • Medicaid; and
  • Supplemental Security Income. 

Otherwise, funds provided directly to the child may disqualify him or her for assistance if it is determined that he or she has too much in assets. 

How to Establish a Special Needs Trust for Your Disabled Child 

Whether your child is a minor or an adult, as soon as you know that he or she will need help managing finances, you should begin the process of setting up a special needs trust. Your attorney may help you decide whether to set up the trust and may recommend certain professionals to help. 

While it may be possible to establish the trust on your own, it is typically best to work with a certified financial planner that has experience with special needs trusts. A financial planner can guide you through the paperwork and legalities associated with trust establishment and maintenance so your child’s assets and benefits are properly protected. 

As you establish the special needs trust you will identify the methods of funding that will support it. As parents, you can personally fund the trust with your own estate or proceeds of a life insurance policy. You may also fund the trust periodically as you see fit. Your family may also fund the trust through inheritances or gifts. 

How a Disabled Child Benefits from a Special Needs Trust 

No matter your child’s age, if something happens to their caretaker and a special needs trust is in place, the child’s financial needs will be provided for without interruption. When the trust is initially established you will need to designate a trustee to manage the funds in the trust. If you serve as the trustee and unexpectedly pass away, the funds will still be protected by the trust and continue to benefit your child. 

Even if you are no longer able to manage your disabled child’s finances and benefits, the trust will see to it that his or her needs are taken care of through the protected assets. 

Government benefits often provide for the basic life needs of: 

  • food;
  • shelter; and
  • medical care, and possibly
  • quality of life. 

If you have questions about special needs trusts as they relate to Social Security disability benefits or other government programs, seek out a Social Security attorney in Dunn. An attorney can also help you apply for benefits if you have not done so already. 

Attorneys Can Answer Disability Benefit Questions 

When a loved one is disabled, you want to help ensure his or her future will be secure even if you are no longer able to provide care. Parents of disabled children often seek the help of a lawyer to answer their concerns about their child’s future when he or she receives benefits. 

At Brent Adams & Associates, our team of disability and personal injury attorneys has the knowledge and experience to help clients with many types of legal cases where injury or disability is an issue. From car accidents to veterans’ disability appeals, we help our clients seek the benefits and compensation they are entitled when they become injured or disabled. 

With offices in Dunn, Raleigh and Fayetteville we are honored to serve the residents of North Carolina with their disability and injury legal needs. To schedule a FREE consultation, contact a Social Security attorney in Dunn at 910-892-8177 or toll-free at 800-849-5931.