Watch out when buying holiday gifts for individuals with special needs, financial planners say, so that you don’t inadvertently do more harm than good.
That’s because people with disabilities face strict limits on the money and assets they can have in order to receive Social Security and health care benefits.
Individuals with special needs cannot have more than $2,000 to their name at any one time and no more than $2,000 worth of personal property if they wish to remain eligible for government programs like Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security. (Learn more about eligibility for government benefits >>)
“We see a lot of holiday celebrations, birthdays, communions and bar mitzvahs where people make several small monetary donations to special needs children, and if those compile over $2,000, their benefits are in jeopardy,” Helen Sims, a Pittsburgh special care planner told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In many cases families will establish a special needs trust in order to accumulate money to benefit the person with the disability without disqualifying them from government assistance. Such a trust is controlled by a family member or other third party.
Gifts that could put a person’s eligibility in question can be given to the trust instead of the individual, reports the Post-Gazette. To read more click here.