Some clients are already eligible for public benefits such as Medi-Cal, or SSI, or may be eligible for these public benefits as a result of their work comp injury. To best protect these clients, the applicant attorney should understand what steps are needed to protect the client’s public benefits. Good planning is essential because the receipt of settlement funds may jeopardize public benefits eligibility.
You’ve spent years fighting to get a settlement for your client. Finally there is a settlement. But the plaintiff was receiving MediCal benefits prior to the settlement so now doesn’t meet the criteria for continuing those benefits. There is too much money coming in. Thus the plaintiff is now forced to start paying private pay rates for care. The result is a significant loss of settlement proceeds.
If a client is NOT totally and permanently disabled
All California residents who make less than 138% of the FPL (Federal Poverty Level) and are NOT totally and permanently disabled qualify for expanded MediCal. Even if a client's income is ZERO, they can receive any amount of money from a settlement without jeopardizing MediCal eligibility. In addition there is no period of ineligibility created from accepting settlement proceeds.
Now that I know I need a Special Needs Trusts, the question is: What can I pay for with my trust? How and what you can purchase from your Special Needs Trust varies significantly based on what type of benefits you are eligible for several other factors not discuss in this post. This is meant to give you a general idea of what you can utilize the assets in your trust for.
William E. Lindahl, MBA, CLPF