Social Security Changes Its Position on Reimbursements
Moorestown, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) March 26, 2012 – The Special Needs Task Force worked with Social Security to change how it reimburses third parties.
Historically, the Social Security Administration (SSA) permitted parents or other family members of disabled beneficiaries of special needs trusts to buy items for the beneficiary and be reimbursed from the special needs trust. Of course, the family members were required to keep receipts and records of these purchases and furnish them to the trustee. Items might include clothing and other relatively small items that were easier for the parent to pick up and pay for than to request a distribution from the trustee directly to the provider of the goods or services.
In the spring of 2012, the SSA stated that such items of reimbursement were “unearned income” to the trust beneficiary. This had the effect of reducing the SSI payment to the trust beneficiary dollar-for-dollar and, if the reimbursement items exceeded the maximum federal benefit rate (2013 rate is $710 per month for an individual), then the SSI payment was lost. If the trust beneficiary’s Medicaid was linked to SSI, then Medicaid was lost as well.
On May 21, 2012, SSA contended that it was “clarifying” the Program Operating Manual System (POMS) and began reducing and eliminating benefits of the disabled. It is the document that Social Security eligibility workers look to for guidance. While technically, the POMS do not have the force of law, they are given great deference by the courts and are followed scrupulously by eligibility workers. The effect of this clarification by SSA was chaos for trust beneficiaries with disabilities, as well as parents and trustees.
“In response, an advocacy group was assembled, led by the Special Needs Alliance,” stated Thomas D. Begley, Jr., New Jersey estate planning attorney and founding president of the Special Needs Alliance. “The Task Force held a series of meetings with SSA and was able to convince SSA that the policy enunciated in the spring made little sense and worked a hardship on all involved.”
On February 8, 2013, the POMS were changed, authorizing a special needs trust to reimburse a third party, such as a parent or other family member, for expenditures made on behalf of the special needs trust beneficiary with disabilities. Such distributions for reimbursement are no longer considered unearned income. The changes are found at POM SI 01120.200.E.1.d and POMS SI 01120.201.I.1.f.
This change brings a sigh of relief to trust lawyers, beneficiaries and trustees alike. The Task Force continues to work with SSA in identifying primary issues such as this and advocate for the clients it serves.
To learn more about Begley Law Group call 1.800.533.7227 or visit www.begleylawgroup.com.
Begley Law Group, P.C.
509 S. Lenola Road, Building 7
Moorestown, NJ 08057
- Thomas Begley Jr to Present at Philadelphia Conference on Irrevocable Trusts
On Tuesday, August 27th Tom Begley Jr will be presenting at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute course on Irrevocable Trusts, being held at the CLE Conference Center in Philadelphia. Mr. Begley views irrevocable trusts as an important estate planning tool that can assist elder law attorneys in helping their clients protect assets. “Although often used for the very wealthy, we view irrevocable trusts as quite useful for clients in all income levels,” said Mr. Begley, “helping many with very high long-term health care costs, possible lawsuits as well as other concerns.” Irrevocable trusts are often used in estate planning for seven primary [...]
- Dana E. Bookbinder Article Published in Today’s Senior Magazine
Today’s Senior Magazine, South Jersey Edition recently published an article written by Dana E. Bookbinder about the New Jersey POLST legislation in their August 2013 edition. Below is the text of that article, which can also be found online at Today’s Senior Magazine’s web site. ——– Today’s Senior Magazine, August 2013 - New Jersey residents have a new tool through which they can ensure that their health care wishes are carried out by all medical providers. Signed into law on December 21, 2011 by Governor Chris Christie, the New Jersey POLST (Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) legislation became effective [...]
- Tom Begley Jr. to Present at 16th Annual Elder Law Institute
On Thursday, July 25th, Tom Begley, Jr. will be presenting at the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s 16th Annual Elder Law Institute at the Harrisburg Hilton in Harrisburg, PA. Last year’s day-long event hosted over 400 elder law attorneys and professionals, who gathered to learn about the latest changes in elder law as well as gain practical insights from fellow elder law professionals. Mr. Begley will speak at two different sessions including a presentation about the impact of the Affordable Care Act and SSA policy changes on Special Needs Trusts. Other topics at the Institute include Medicaid estate recovery, long term care [...]
See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: new jersey elder law, new jersey elder law attorney, new jersey estate planning, new jersey estate planning attorney, new jersey estate planning lawyer, New Jersey personal injury settlement consultant, New Jersey Special Needs attorney, New Jersey Special Needs Lawyer, New Jersey Special Needs planning, new jersey veterans law, nj elder, nj estate planning, nj estate planning attorney