An individual with disabilities can be disqualified from public assistance programs such as Medicaid and SSI if their assets are greater than $2,000. An inheritance or lifetime gifts from well-meaning family members could unintentionally disqualify them from these programs and the services they provide. Proper planning is needed to ensure a disabled family member can be provided for without jeopardizing their benefits.
Assets held for a disabled beneficiary in a properly drafted Special Needs Trust are not counted as a resource. This allows the beneficiary to qualify for government services while the Special Needs Trust holds assets that can be used for the beneficiary’s supplemental needs.
Contributions can also be made to an ABLE (Achieving Better Life Experience) Account for the benefit of certain disabled beneficiaries. Up to $100,000 can be held in this account and used for the beneficiary’s qualified disability expenses while still allowing the beneficiary to qualify for government services.