Getting into an accident is terrifying. It carries not only financial burdens but also physical trauma and injuries. You could miss days of work, and you might need special medical treatments or medications. For any person, the situation is easy to resolve. You can seek out a settlement between you and the other car owner, or you can claim from your insurance. However, it’s not the same for everyone. For people who receive Supplemental Security Income, it may be a lot more complicated than that.
Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid
A supplemental security income, or SSI, is a program run by the Social Security Administration, which is a federal government agency. It primarily offers monthly payments to those that meet both criteria:
- People who
- have a disability;
- are blind; or
- is over the age of 65; and
(B) People who have low income and low resources
SSI is different from social security disability insurance (SSDI). While SSDI also provides monthly payments to those disabled, it distinctly gives them to those who previously worked or those who have parents who work.
SSI monthly payments are sought after to allow eligible persons to pay for their basic needs. Depending on the assessment of the Social Security Administration, the monthly payments can go as high as $771.
In Michigan, Medicaid also covers those who qualify for SSI benefits. Medicaid is a healthcare program that pays for the medical expenses of persons who are disabled, elderly, young, or poor. What is great about Medicaid is that it doesn’t only pay for hospitalization. It also pays for medical treatments, prescription drugs, check-ups, home care, and even medical equipment.
So, essentially, in addition to the SSI monthly payments that recipients get, they can also receive every three months an additional Medicaid payment of up to $42.
Personal Injury Settlement and Your Benefits
When you get into a car accident and end up getting into a personal injury settlement, this can affect your SSI and Medicaid eligibility. SSI has income and resource limits and a settlement can be an income.
According to the SSI program, the more you earn, the less SSI benefits you receive. For every extra dollar you earn, your SSI benefit decreases by 50 cents. It may not seem much, but you have to remember that under the SSI, you must report every income and every expense. If you receive a hefty sum from a car accident settlement, this can put you out of the federal poverty level.
That does not mean that you should not accept settlement when it happens, however. It just means that you will have to be smarter in managing the amount of settlement you received.
Protecting Your Eligibility and Benefits
There are two things that you can do to protect your SSI and Medicaid benefits:
- Spend the settlement money in the same month on something that will not count as resources.
It’s okay if you receive only a reasonable amount. According to the SSA, the following are excluded in calculating your resource limit:
- Your home;
- One vehicle used by you or someone in your household;
- Life insurance that you own with a per person face value of $1,500;
- Burial plots for you or your immediate family members;
- Burial fund of $1,500 or less for you, or burial expenses for your spouse;
- Household goods and personal effects;
- Things that you or your spouse uses for trade or business, or things you use for your job if you are employed; or
- If you set your money aside for a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)
Create a Special Needs Trust or a Pooled Trust.
As a general rule, trusts are considered as a resource because, depending on the condition, you may earn something from the trust. However, the SSA provides for exceptions, namely, special needs trust and pooled trusts.
Special needs trust is a trust that contains the assets of a disabled person under the age of 65. It is established to benefit the individual, his parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or even the state should he no longer have any living beneficiary upon his death.
Pooled trusts, on the other hand, is a trust created specifically for a non-profit association for the benefit of those disabled.
Michigan Law Firms for Car Accident Settlements and SSI Benefits
If you were receiving SSI benefits and had just gotten into a personal car accident settlement, know that there are legal ways to protect your eligibility. A dependable lawyer can bring you in the right direction. Choose the experienced attorneys at The Clark Law Office!
Our team of lawyers has years of experience in handling personal injury cases, including settlements and benefits. We are trained to look at every detail of your income and resources to ensure that you will still be able to receive the benefits that you deserve.