Maximize and Protect Public Support Programs to Help Now and Protect Future Needs

It is important for parents to know the options and what needs to be done to maintain and protect public support programs like:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
  • Medicaid,
  • Child Benefits (under the Social Security work record of a parent) and associated Medicare,
  • SNAP (what used to be called “food stamps”),
  • housing support, and
  • many other programs that may be available to provide supplemental support to expand income.

“What happens if I can’t be here to take care of my child with special needs?”

There are 3 areas parents need to address to answer this question:
Guardianship
– Public support programs (this article)
– Parent Plans to strategically structure assets
Protect and Provide for a Special Needs Child
Join our free information session April 26, in West Lafayette
for Parents looking for information and answers the question
“What happens if I can be here for my child?”.

Public Support Programs provide necessary support for a child with special needs to meet day-to-day basic needs for food, shelter, and health. These programs are numerous. However, they primarily fall into two categories:

  • Non-Contributory, Means-Tested Entitlement Programs
  • Contributory Entitlements Programs

Means-Tested Programs

Programs like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), SNAP, and others require applicants to meet specific criteria to receive them. These are sometimes referred to as “safety net” programs.  This premise is the government’s belief that a minimum standard of living should be protected by government programs.

Since the government sets this floor, it also sets criteria to determine if a person or household qualifies for these programs.  In some cases, the “test” includes income and countable resource of the individual. Examples for this test include Medicaid and SSI. Other programs may only have an income test, either income of an individual or of a household.

These programs provide essential base services and support for a person who may not be able to work at a level to provide for oneself.

Contributory or Earned Programs

There are other programs like Medicare, Social Security Retirement Benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance, Child Benefits and other family benefits, and the like. You make contributions to these programs while you work as an employee or through self-employment tax payments. When you reach retirement age or become disabled, these programs provide support. In addition, your family may receive support as well.

When to Apply for Medicaid/SSI

As mentioned in the Guardianship article, many things change when a child turns 18. Some children qualify for Medicaid prior to 18 based on diagnosis and need. SSI is more difficult to receive when under 18 and living with parents. This is because an under 18 year-old child’s parents’ income and resources are “deemed” to the child to determine SSI eligibility. Once the child reaches 18, SSI only counts the individual’s income and resources.

It is a good idea to apply to receive SSI once your child turns 18. It is important to try to qualify. It provides some income. Plus, it protects Medicaid eligibility. In addition, once eligible, the child’s record in the Social Security If your child receives Medicaid, SSI should follow without too many issues. Either way, system. If possible, this is important to establish in their system to protect Child Benefits later.

Indiana is a “Medicaid State.” This means if a person receives at least a dollar of SSI, then the person qualifies for Medicaid. If a person receives Medicaid, the person qualifies for SSI.

How to get started with a Guardianship for my Special Needs Child?

There are several ways to get started:

RG Skadberg
Founder/Attorney, CCSK Law
I create customized solutions for families to address their planning needs.
I provide plans clients understand. Also, they make sure they know when to use them, and do so affordably.
I love the opportunity to break-through legal jargon to clarify issues
We find success when we work through a person’s situation and put the law to work for them.

About the author

Author profile

Founder/Attorney, CCSK Law
I create customized solutions for families to address their planning needs.
I provide plans clients understand. Also, they make sure they know when to use them, and do so affordably. I love the opportunity to break through the legal jargon to clarify issues. We find success when we work through a person’s situation and put the law to work for them.

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