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Child Support and Alimony Payments - What you Need to Know

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We are often asked about what happens to SSI benefits when there may be child support or alimony involved with a Special Needs Trust. We hope you find this blog post helpful and a good resource to reference when you are advising your clients.
When a child is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and the custodial parent is receiving child support (including arrearage payments) from a non-custodial parent, Social Security counts the support as unearned income to the child. (SI 00830.420(B)(1)).
Similarly, when an SSI recipient receives alimony or spousal support, Social Security counts the support as unearned income to the SSI recipient. (SI 00830.418B). Each dollar of unearned income (after a general disregard of $20) will reduce the recipient’s monthly SSI amount by a dollar. If the monthly child support, alimony or spousal support is great enough, it could completely eliminate the recipient’s monthly SSI check.
SSI recipients and their attorneys should know that there …

Elder and Disability Law Forum - Thursday, May 24, 2018 at Empath Health/Suncoast Hospice

Co-Trustees/Attorneys Travis Finchum and Kole Long will be speaking along with Attorneys Linda Chamberlain and Charlie Robinson on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at Empath Health (Suncoast Hospice) in Clearwater FL. Topics will include Nursing Home Regulations, Dementia & Alzheimer's, Social Security Disability (SSDI) & Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as well as a Legislative Update, including New Trust Changes (with a focus on Special Needs Trust POMS and ABLE POMS updates).

You don't want to miss this educational forum which provides FREE continuing education credits. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Travis D. Finchum to speak at Florida Guardian ad Litem Program

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Co-Trustee/Attorney Travis D. Finchum will be presenting again this year at the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program in Orlando, Florida. His topic will cover Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts. As you may know there have been several changes regarding SNTs and ABLE accounts.  We now have new POMS from Social Security issued and we will be posting here soon with a summary of all of the changes. Stay tuned.



Travis D. Finchum Board Certified Elder Law Attorney Co-Trustee, Guardian Trust

Choosing a Pooled Trust or Special Needs Trust Trustee

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I’ve been working on a new presentation that I will be doing at theFamily Café this summer titled “What to ask your special needs lawyer?”It has me thinking about what questions individuals, their family members and their attorneys should be asking when “Choosing a Pooled Trust or Special Needs Trust Trustee.
You should:
Ask about a track record – How long has this Pooled Trust been in existence?How many beneficiaries do they serve, how much money do they handle?Who is investing the money?Check out the financial advisor’s background.What is the historical investment returns over the past year, three years, five years and ten years?If they don’t have a track record they can share with you, be skeptical.
Ask about insurance – Do they have Errors and Omissions coverage, a Fidelity (theft) policy, Professional Liability insurance, and Cyber Crimes insurance?If so, how much do their policies cover?If not, move on; you should not trust them with your or your client’s money.
Ask about safeguard…

2018 - Medicaid, SSI, ABLE Account Figures - What You Need to Know

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The 2018 figures for eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are effective now that we are into the new year.  The resource limit for a single person stays the same ($2,000) for SSI and long term care Medicaid programs.
For a spouse at home of a person qualifying for long term care Medicaid (often referred to as the community spouse), the resource limit has increased to $123,600. 
The income limit (maximum federal benefit rate) for SSI is now $750 per month which then makes the Medicaid income limit $2,250 (always 3 times the SSI limit).  Medicare part B monthly premiums have not increased. According to www.medicare.gov, the standard Part B premium amount will remain $134 per month. However, most people will pay less. The monthly personal needs allowance for people on Medicaid in a nursing home remains at $105.  Finally, the home equity exclusion for Medicaid eligibility went up to $572,000.  For a chart of these figures clickhere.
For anyone participating or reco…

2017 Social Security and Medicaid Income and Asset Limits

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The 2017 figures for eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are effective now that we are into the new year.  The resource limit for a single person stays the same ($2,000) for SSI and long term care Medicaid programs.

For a spouse at home of a person qualifying for long term care Medicaid (often referred to as the community spouse), the resource limit has increased to $120,900. 

The income limit for SSI is now $735 per month which then makes the Medicaid income limit $2,205 (always 3 times the SSI limit).  Medicare part B monthly premiums have increased. According to www.medicare.gov, the standard Part B premium amount has increased to $134 per month. However, most people will pay less. The average is $109. The monthly personal needs allowance for people on Medicaid in a nursing home remains at $105.  Finally, the home equity exclusion for Medicaid eligibility went up to $560,000.  For a chart of these figures click here.


Kole J. Long
Elder Law Attorney Co-Trust…

SSI, Pooled Trusts, Penalties, oh my!

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We have posted several times in the past few years about being able to utilize a Pooled Special Needs Trust (SNT) in Florida for individuals ranging from newborns to centenarians. 

The good news is that individuals of any age can still utilize a Pooled SNT for Medicaid purposes with no problem. However, if the person is age 65 or older we need to also ask the question - are they receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?
We still frequently field inquiries regarding individuals over age 64 that are looking to maintain their SSI income, as well as their Medicaid benefits, by using a Pooled SNT.
Unfortunately, Social Security penalizes individuals that are over age 64 who are receiving SSI if they fund a Pooled Trust.  The penalty is one month for every $735 put into the Pooled Trust, up to a maximum of 3 years.  The $735 figure comes from the maximum monthly SSI benefit as of January 1, 2017.  Note, the maximum SSI penalty is only 3 years and not 5 years like Medicaid. In many …