Public Benefits

Public benefits are usually means-tested welfare benefits for people who need assistance. Typically they are taken from general tax dollars, which is why they are treated differently from entitlement programs. Public benefits include:

Benefits you paid for through payroll deductions are entitlements. They include Medicare, Social Security Disability (SSDI), Social Security Retirement and Railroad Retirement.

Elder Law Attorneys and Special Needs Law Attorneys frequently use tools like special needs trusts or engage in Medicaid Planning to help older adults and individuals with special needs access public benefits. We’re still building this website, so if we haven’t answered your questions yet on one of our main pages or in a blog post, contact us at


    Medicaid’s “any circumstance” test for trusts

    Medicaid’s “Any Circumstance” Test for Trusts In case you missed the memo, Medicaid doesn’t like trusts. The rules relating to trusts you create with your money or property are found at 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(d). To put this discussion in context, we’ll begin with the sections relevant to the “any circumstances” test, but the full […]

    SNT Trustee Ordered to Reimburse Some Conservator Expenses

    SNT Trustee Ordered to Reimburse Some Conservator Expenses In Weidner v. Stevenson (Cal. App. 2nd Dist. May 13, 2024), Roberta Davis established a special needs trust inside her living trust for her disabled adult son, Daniel. Daniel was under a conservatorship. Daniel’s aunt, Charlyne, was the successor trustee of the trust after Roberta’s death, while […]

    SNT Payback Provision Enforced

    In Agency for Health Care Administration v. Spence (Fla. App. 3rd Dist May 22, 2024) the Court of Appeals reversed a probate court order authorizing distributions from a special needs trust without first reimbursing the Medicaid agency. Ryan Spence was a disabled child adopted by Kathleen Spence. After Spence was killed, a settlement agreement allocated […]

    Long-Term Care Partnership Policies

    Long-Term Care Partnership Policies One example of good planning is purchasing long-term care insurance. The greatest risk to non-taxable estates (those under $12.9 million) is the cost of long-term care. With long-term care insurance, you can shift that risk to an insurance company. A partnership policy is a special long-term care insurance policy that protects […]

    Superior Court Review of Georgia ALJ Decision

    In ____ v. Brock, Judge Schwall, Fulton County Superior Court), affirmed an administrative law judge’s Final Decision as supported by the administrative record. Here, the most interesting portion is the language discussing how a Superior Court reviews the appeal of an ALJ decision. The case began when DHS found suspicious transactions on a food stamp […]

    Home purchased after nursing home admission was not an exempt homeplace

    In a Texas case decided on May 3, 2024, the Texas Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and trial court, siding with the Medicaid agency on whether a home purchased after admission to a nursing home was exempt. Clyde and Dorothy Burt sold their home to their daughter and moved into a rental property. […]

    Preliminary injunction granted barring state from terminating QI Medicaid

    In Parker v. Louisiana Department of Health (April 30, 2024), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana granted a motion for preliminary injunction prohibiting the State from terminating a grandmother’s QI Medicaid based on the State’s determination of family size. The Plaintiff, a 71 year old widow who was raising her grandchild, […]

    SSI Decisions finding no penalty where beneficiary over 65 funds a pooled trust sub-account

    The federal Medicaid statute authorizes the use of individual self-settled special needs trusts for individuals under the age of 65. See 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(d)(4)(A). It also authorizes any applicant, regardless of age, to establish a self-settled pooled special needs trust sub-account. 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(d)(4)(C). An open question not addressed in (d)(4)(C) is whether […]

    Example of Georgia Medicaid Lien Inquiry

    If someone is receiving Medicaid and was injured through the negligence of others, Medicaid asserts a third-party claim against any recovery, whether by settlement or verdict. This is sometimes known as a Medicaid lien. The form shown below is one currently used by Georgia Medicaid when investigating whether a third-party claim exists.

    Social Security Revises Policy on Recoverying Overpayments

    The Social Security Administration pays various benefits including retirement benefits, disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income. An overpayment occurs when you receive more money than you should have been paid. In those cases, Sociai Security is required to seek recovery of the overpayment unless an exception applies allowing it to “forgive” (waive) the overpayment. Under […]

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