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SSI eligibility
Old 09-16-2009, 10:29 AM   #1
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SSI eligibility

A severely disabled adult, requires full time assistance, spouse is the full time caregiver. They have managed for many years on a combination of their own business income along with non-profit association help but no state or federal assistance.

Disability has progressed, business is now closed and private support has been reduced - so they have applied for and are receiving medicaid and SSI.

How can family and friends provide financial assistance without jeopardizing eligibility for continued public assistance, particularly SSI which has quite stringent rules, but also without violating the law?

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Old 09-16-2009, 10:39 AM   #2
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Cash which is spent and gifts. One of the most critical items is to not have assets in the bank. If the gifts are those things they might buy for themselves if they had the money, oh well. Gifts could include clothing, household items, non-food items of a general merchandise type, entertainment or a meal out for recreation, gift certificates to stores like Target, Penny's, Home Depot, hair salon, if a car owner perhaps new tires or certificate at Goodyear/Sears Auto Center.

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Old 09-16-2009, 10:42 AM   #3
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You can occasionally give small cash gifts which are used to supplement the basics. My brother is in this situation, and my mom often gives him a couple hundred bucks every month or two to supplement disability income -- but keeping him under the Medicaid and SSI income/assets thresholds.

In terms of estate planning for such a person, a special needs trust is also an option.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:14 PM   #4
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I read the NOLO book on special needs trusts over lunch. Pretty straight forward, very informative. Confirms both crazy connie and ziggy's input.

Looks like any effort toward ongoing continued financial assistance needs to satisfy a number of conditions and avoid others regardless of whether a trust is used or not. The trust itself guarantees continuity. There are no "low-maintenance" options - they all require upfront effort and ongoing maintenance. Still, assistance is viable as long as it goes directly to providers and not the individual and is not used for SSI-related categories.
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