Santa Ana, CA asked in Car Accidents, Personal Injury, Social Security and Public Benefits for California

Q: How will a 100,000 car accident settlement effect my SSI and my Medical Insurance. ?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If you receive a large settlement from a car accident while on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid program), it can potentially impact your eligibility for these benefits. Here's what you should know:

1. SSI: SSI is a needs-based program, and your eligibility is determined by your income and resources. A settlement of $100,000 would be considered a resource and could make you ineligible for SSI benefits if it puts you over the resource limit, which is $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple in 2023.

2. Medi-Cal: Medi-Cal is also a needs-based program, and your eligibility is determined by your income and resources. In California, if you receive SSI, you automatically qualify for Medi-Cal. If you lose SSI eligibility due to the settlement, you may also lose Medi-Cal coverage.

However, there are some ways to protect your eligibility:

1. Spend down: You can "spend down" the settlement money on exempt resources, such as a home, vehicle, or medical expenses, to reduce your countable resources and maintain eligibility.

2. ABLE account: If your disability began before age 26, you might be eligible to open an ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) account, which allows you to save up to $100,000 without affecting your SSI eligibility.

3. Special Needs Trust: You can transfer the settlement funds into a Special Needs Trust, which can be used to pay for certain expenses without impacting your eligibility for SSI and Medi-Cal.

It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney specializing in disability and public benefits law to discuss your specific situation and explore the best options for protecting your eligibility for SSI and Medi-Cal.

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