Many of our nation’s poor make ends meet with federal and state funds (assisted benefits) they receive through programs restricted for the most economically disadvantaged. Qualification is determined through means testing, a process that reviews and checks applicant’s income, assets and resources. This includes lawsuit awards. Exceeding the income and resource statutory qualification thresholds can disqualify and or change the amounts received from government-assisted benefits.
Some of the federal and state “means tested” programs include:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
- Housing Choice Vouchers
- Public Housing
- Food Stamps
- Women, Infants and Children Nutrition (WIC)
Losing these benefits can put you at a serious economic disadvantage. It can happen when claimants take their settlement in a lump sum or a portion in upfront cash and are then forced to exhaust the money before reapplying for their government assisted benefits. During the period of time where they are trying to reapply, they may have no income and risk tougher scrutiny as they attempt to requalify for government benefits.
When the claimant is a minor, government assisted benefits may not be available due to the combined income and resources of the family. A special needs trust (often combined with the structured settlement benefits) for the minor’s benefit, may still be appropriate and should be considered as the child’s circumstances change, such as reaching age 18, the death of parents or guardians or should the child move to an assisted living care facility.
Legacy Settlements works to coordinate efforts and expertise with trustees and trust attorneys when determining the best plan for those requiring a special needs trust and or structured settlement annuity to protect the long-term financial security of disabled individuals, minors and their families.