Do you have a disabled child who is about to celebrate their 18th birthday? If so, you may be filled with a lot of (quite understandable) angst about their future. For now, you have the means to provide them with all the support they need, and you plan to set up a trust to make sure that their needs are met long after you’re gone.
First, you need to file a claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA) for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Why file for SSI now when you can provide for your adult child’s needs?
A lot of parents with means hesitate to file a claim for SSI benefits for their adult disabled children because they feel like they can take care of their family members themselves. That’s admirable – but it could ultimately put your child at a disadvantage.
When someone is disabled prior to their 22nd birthday, they can qualify for what’s also known as Disabled Adult Child’s (DAC) benefits once their parent either starts receiving disability benefits, retirement benefits or dies. SSI is a needs-based benefit and is subject to a lot of financial restrictions, but DAC benefits are not.
If you wait to file for SSI benefits for your child, it may be harder for them to qualify for DAC benefits later. Medical evidence can get lost, destroyed or be woefully incomplete.
Your estate plans are central to your goals for your child’s future – but you need to factor their available benefits into the picture so that you establish the correct type of trust for their needs.