Funds in addition to federal money

Published 2:42 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2009

If you’re a parent or caregiver for a disabled loved one, you can help meet expenses and ensure quality care through two primary government programs designed to meet your unique needs: Supplement Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. SSI provides cash benefits to help you pay for a loved one’s food, shelter and clothing. SSI also automatically makes your loved one eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage for medical care, physical therapists, social programs, and rehabilitative and custodial services.

However, the government puts conditions on any benefits you receive: efforts may not be duplicated. Government money is provided on an “as-needed” basis.

If your disabled loved one receives outside funding for covered services, government support is reduced. Therefore, you may be limited in what you can “spend” on — or leave to — your loved one.

That’s why you may want to consider creating a Special Needs Trust. Trusts can offer you a way to help meet ongoing needs and supplement basics without affecting a loved one’s eligibility for government funding.

The funding vehicle you select for your Special Needs Trust is critical. Investments or other financial resources may multiply the value of your trust fund.

If you’re concerned about such a funding vehicle, life insurance may be an option for you. Both Permanent Whole Life and Universal Life, which offers a flexible face amount and adjustable premiums, can be used to fund your trust.

Life insurance can provide a guaranteed death benefit as well as other advantages, including cash value accumulation opportunities, and the ability to access cash value through loans to help meet expenses.