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On December 16, 2014 Congress passed provisions that will protect children with disabilities who have parents in the military by allowing their parents’ survivor benefits to go into a special needs trust.
Special needs trusts make it possible for persons with disabilities to receive assistance through Medicaid, a means-tested program, to pay for the high costs of long-term care and still afford basic necessities. In return, once the person with disabilities passes away, states have the right to recoup the costs of its public assistance from the trust.
Until these provisions become law, the military parents’ survivor benefits of children with disabilities must go directly to the children. This means if the child is receiving Medicaid or any other assistance, they could possible lose their supports.
The purpose of survivor benefits is to protect loved ones in need of support after death. Without these new previsions, in many cases the survivor benefits were hindering the decedent’s loved ones. Now parents in the military won’t need to worry about their benefits negatively affecting their children.
A big thank you to the people who leaded the efforts to pass this legislation including NAELA, Military Officers Association of America and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.