Parents and grandparents of special needs children often worry about how their loved ones will be supported financially after their support system passes away. Government benefits offer a way for special needs adults to maintain financial independence while receiving the medical care they need. Unfortunately, those benefits are jeopardized when a person receives an inheritance.

Medicaid, Medi-Cali, and other social services will require a person spend down that inheritance and then reapply for benefits. The high cost of medical care along with the long wait for disability services has led to disasters for many whose parents only sought to protect them.  Learning how special needs trusts help your kids gives you an opportunity to safeguard your child’s future without placing the benefits they need to survive at risk.

Protects Them Financially

The current Social Security Insurance (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are between $700 and $1,700 with a national average of $1,197 as of 2018.  People receiving disability payments often receive funds from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to keep themselves fed. A person living in California, a state with a notoriously high cost of living, would have a difficult time existing on government funds alone after their parent or other primary caretaker has passed away. Establishing a special needs trust gives you an opportunity to provide your loved ones with the financial help they need to continue living the life they are accustomed to but would not be able to maintain on their own.

Preserves Medical Benefits

Access to reliable medical care is extremely important to any person living with a disability. In order to qualify for Medi-Cal insurance, a person must meet certain qualifications and finances are carefully scrutinized. A sudden jump in net worth caused by an inheritance can make a person become ineligible for government medical insurance. Creating a trust allows your child to receive an inheritance from you without being forced to give up medical insurance or pay for their healthcare out of pocket until they become financially eligible for Medi-Cal again.

Avoids the Reapplication Process

Obtaining any form of disability is a tedious process that has taken some people years. Though the average time to receive a response regarding a disability claim is three to six months, if that claim is denied, you can expect to fight an uphill battle before receiving disability. If your child loses that disability, he or she could encounter denials, judicial hearings, and other problems when attempting to have those benefits reinstated.

Setting Up a Special Needs Trust

The process of setting up a special needs trust may seem complicated to a person who has limited experience with trusts in general. If you or someone close to you believes such a trust is best, contacting a special needs lawyer for help is your best option. The attorneys at MMZ Law understand how stressful planning for the long-term care and well being of a family member with special needs can be. We are here to answer your questions, offering the legal advice you need. Contact our Claremont, California office today to schedule an initial consultation so that we can begin discussing what options are best for you.




341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.