Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Special Needs Trusts
by Linda Ershow-Levenberg, Certified Elder Law Attorney (C.E.L.A.)
Updated August, 2020
Practice Area: Special Needs Trusts
In certain circumstances, a disabled child under the age of 22 cannot obtain Social Security Disability child’s benefits on the earnings record of an insured individual, because required criteria are not met. See Social Security Disability Benefits for Children.
In that situation, SSI may be the only option. If the child himself (if over 18) or the person on whom the child is dependent (if under 18) meets the stringent financial criteria of the SSI rules, the child can become eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits, or SSI.
The child over age 18 cannot have more than $2,000 in countable, available resources in his or her name. For a child over 18, all of the assets of the parent who the child resides with are deemed to be the child’s assets. Therefore, that parent’s assets also cannot exceed $2,000.
As a result of eligibility for SSI, the claimant will receive Medicaid benefits for health coverage.
The criteria for proving Disability are the same as those outlined in:
Social Security Disability Benefits for Children: Requirements & Criteria for Filing.
Protect the heirs: Individuals who have heirs who are disabled may want to consider including a supplemental needs trust in their Will to receive and hold the inheritance, so that their heir won’t lose benefits due to excess resources.
To make an appointment or speak to an attorney about Special Needs Trusts and Medicaid Eligibility, call 732-382-6070 or contact us online.