You can if you are currently receiving public benefits.
Public benefits (like Medicaid and SSI) can be difficult to obtain, but they are very easy to lose. Most needs-based public benefit programs (such as Medicaid, which pays for long-term and other health care needs) have strict financial eligibility requirements that must be maintained for as long as you receive the benefit. Since the asset limits are so low (ex: the asset limit for a single applicant is $ 2,000), even the slightest change in circumstances can make you financially ineligible almost instantly.
Which begs the question: What should you do if an unanticipated sum of money falls into your lap and your financial situation changes?
The first thing to do is: realize this happens more often than you think. Lump sum winnings come in various forms, including inheritance, legal settlements, gifts of money, gambling winnings, and more. The unexpected and non-recurring nature of these benefits makes them almost impossible to predict and therefore difficult to plan, but they are not without solution.
That is why the next and most important thing to do is: talk to our attorneys immediately. Without careful and timely planning and strategy, your needs-based benefits may expire or end entirely, leaving you worse off than if you never received the lump sum. Fortunately, there are a number of ways we can help you hold, invest, and / or use the lump sum without affecting your public benefits. Just as we do when we first qualify you for benefits, we will assess your specific financial situation and develop a legal plan that is tailored to your needs and prevents interruption of your benefits.
Last step: Do not panic. Yes, you don’t want to lose your benefits; But losing your cool won’t solve anything. The idea of receiving an unexpected sum of money often elicits a positive reaction. Then SMILE! Just be sure to act quickly before that smile is turned upside down (most agencies require you to report your change in financial circumstances within 10 days). Taking action as soon as possible, even before the funds are transferred to you, will increase your likelihood of success.
When all is said and done, following these simple steps will put you in the best position to not only maintain your public benefits, but also to maintain your peace of mind.
Our attorneys are here to help you and your loved ones. We serve clients throughout Florida. For more information or for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION please contact us today by calling 305.722.5533 or by emailing us at [email protected]!