When you qualify to receive settlement in a personal injury case, you have the option of either receiving the settlement as a lumpsum or in a structured annuity arrangement. Before you settle on either of these, seek the counsel of a nyc personal injury attorney. This expert will advise you on how to avoid jeopardizing the means-tested benefits that you have been receiving prior to the award of the settlement. You need not to rush and accept a settlement before talking to an attorney, failure to which you could actually lose your eligibility for government benefits.
What exactly are means-tested government benefits?
Means-tested government benefits are defined as the benefits that the government extends to its citizens whose income and assets are below a predefined limit. Whenever your income or assets surpass the limit set, you risk losing these government benefits on the premise that you seize being eligible. The asset and income restrictions for these government benefits often vary from one jurisdiction to another. Therefore, it is important that you consult a professional who specializes in means-tested government benefits.
Common means-tested benefits include:
Medicaid– This is a government-funded medical scheme which covers individuals and families from poor backgrounds. The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) did way with the asset test for those who apply for Medicaid. For these individuals, a modified adjusted gross income is used to determine eligibility. If your modified adjusted gross income is below 133% of the poverty level, which is used as a baseline, you will be deemed as eligible for Medicaid. However, if you choose to apply for Medicaid via a program such as SSI, you will be subjected to the asset test.
Medicaid Waiver– There are many state-specific waiver programs that residents in these states can get access to. However, most of these programs have set income and asset caps. You need to consult a nyc personal injury attorney to know how to get access to these programs.
Supplementary Security Income (SSI)– This government benefit offers financial assistance to those who are blind, disabled or elderly and have little or no alternative source of income. As at 2014, the asset limit set for eligibility to this program stood at $2,000 and $3,000 for individuals and couples respectively. Certain states also extend a SSI supplement to its residents whose needs are not fully catered for by the federal-funded SSI.
Food Stamps– Food stamps, also known as Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides beneficiaries with an electronic benefit transfer card which can be used to purchase food. To qualify for this program, your income must be below 130% of the federal poverty level and the household asset limit should not exceed $2,000 or $3,250 for households where one or more members are 60 years and above.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)– This program provides medical cover for children from low and mid income families whose incomes are above the limit set for Medicaid but they are not able to afford private medical cover for their children. The program covers children up to the age of 19. In some states, pregnant women falling within a certain income level are also included in the CHIP program. The program is jointly funded by the state and federal governments. Eligibility of this assistance varies from one state to another.
Clearly, there are so many benefits that you have been enjoying under these means-tested government programs. In the event that you qualify for settlement due to a personal injury, make haste and consult a nyc personal injury attorney who will guide you on how to get access to the damages without risking losing eligibility to the means-tested government assistance. Take advantage of the free consultation today!