19395 Homeless Man in a Wheelchair on city street in the rain shutterstock 969523 - Special Needs Planning

Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Tresi Weeks

Special needs planning is more important than ever. Despite support from both sides of the aisle and appeals from disability advocates across the country, proposed legislation intended to offer greater financial support to millions of older adults and people with disabilities is not part of Congress’ year-end spending package. 

While these government benefits are still essential, it is not sufficient to provide individuals with a desirable quality of life. A special needs trust and professional special needs planning attorney can help. Explore more about the  proposed SSI bill and how special needs planning is essential as a supplement of SSI in this blog.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Special Needs Trusts

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that was created in 1972. It provides people with eligible disabilities and older individuals who have limited income with a modest monthly payment meant to help them cover the cost of food, clothing, and housing.

Under current law, SSI recipients are prohibited from having more than $2,000 in countable assets. The SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act (S. 4102), introduced in the spring of 2022 by senators from Ohio, sought to push this asset cap to $10,000 for individuals. For couples, the bill looked to move the asset threshold from $3,000 to $20,000.

“Rising costs and inflation is hurting all Americans, but especially our nation’s seniors and those with disabilities” co-sponsor Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) had said in a May 2022 news release announcing the proposed legislation. “Yet the Supplemental Security Income program that serves these vulnerable populations hasn’t been updated in decades and punishes them for trying to save responsibly.”

In 2022, SSI beneficiaries nationwide received an average monthly benefit of $625.50 per individual. For some, SSI benefits are their sole source of income. 

The changes proposed by the Savings Penalty Elimination Act would have been the first inflation adjustment to the program’s asset limits in nearly four decades.

Special Needs Trusts and Estate Planning

Weeks Law Firm provides assistance with a special needs trust that leverages privately held assets to “supplement” government benefits. You can create a special needs plan for your loved ones that they can use throughout their life. We also have individuals with assistance with special needs trust planning and professional estate planning services

To learn more about our tailored special needs planning services and estate planning tools, contact our team today.

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