Preparations for Adult Children with Mental Health IssuesWhen an adult has a severe mental illness, their parents are often tasked with helping them manage their symptoms.  In the case of a debilitating condition, the child may not be able to work or otherwise provide for their own needs.  Parents in this circumstance will naturally have concerns about how their child will be supported in the future.  Making preparations for adult children with mental health issues today will help ensure that they have the resources they need in the future.

Apply for Government Assistance

When a person has been diagnosed with a significant mental illness and has a marked history of symptoms which prevent them from supporting themselves, they may be eligible for public benefits.  These benefits typically include some income as well as coverage under the Medicaid program.  Benefits such as Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Social Security Income (SSI) offer a monthly stipend.  However, applying for and obtaining approval for SSDI and SSI can be a complicated and lengthy process.   Additionally, it is not uncommon for an application to be initially denied and then approved when the person re-applies with the right evidence to demonstrate their eligibility. The sooner you begin gathering necessary information and documentation for your child’s application, the better.

Consider Creating a MiABLE Account

While the support of SSDI and SSI can be helpful, in most cases, these funds will not be near enough to pay for all of the recipient’s expenses.  Further, SSI and SSDI are income sensitive, meaning the recipient is severely limited in the amount of income and resources they may have while still qualifying for these benefits.  The good news for parents is that there is a way to supplement these benefits without endangering their child’s eligibility.  Michigan residents can set up a Michigan Achieving a Better Life Experience (MiABLE) account for their loved one.  A MiABLE account allows a qualifying account holder to have up to $100,000.00 and receive $14,000.00 per year without affecting their benefits.

In order to have a MiABLE account the individual must have a significant disability which they had on or before their 26th birthday and are eligible to receive SSI; are eligible to receive SSDI, or have been diagnosed by a qualified physician with a physical or mental disability resulting in discernable and severe functional limitations that are expected to last no less than 12 months.  The account holder can use the funds for several different qualified daily living expenses such as their housing, transportation, medical, and educational costs.

Set Up a Special Needs Trust

Another option for parents who want to create a funding source for their child is a special needs trust.  Special needs trusts are designed for individuals with qualifying disabilities including certain mental health conditions.  This type of trust allows parents to restrict their child’s access to the trust assets while still providing for their needs.  While the trust assets will not be counted against the beneficiary for purposes of public benefit eligibility, there are restrictions on how the trust disbursements can be used and how payment is made to the beneficiary.   Further, how the trust is created matters as some will allow the government to recoup trust assets for reimbursement if the beneficiary dies.

When a child has a severe mental illness, the time to plan for the future is now.  Having the right measures in place can give parents the peace of mind of knowing that their child’s needs will be addressed now and in the future.  We have experience helping families plan for their estates and the future of their loved ones.  Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

Post A Comment