It's essential to understand that upon becoming 18 years old, your child will for some purposes be considered an adult. Benefits afforded him or her as a child may or may not continue into adulthood. Personal assets and income will play a role in your child's eligibility.
Most importantly, your child may be expected to make decisions on his or her own behalf. Will he or she be qualified to do so? If not you may want to consider establishing a guardianship or conservatorship. Doing so enables a qualified person (or institution) to be responsible for your child and your child's property (a guardian) or for the management of your child's property only (a conservator). Different types of guardianships are available depending on the level of assistance your child will need.
A guardianship is ordinarily terminated when the child becomes 18 years old (nineteen in some states). However special guardianships or conservatorships may be established for disabled adults. If this is a measure you want to take, it's best to plan ahead for it and be ready to put it into place when the time comes.
Consider these facts:
- Eligibility for certain benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), is determined by the parents' income prior to the child's 18th birthday. After that, it's based on the child's assets and income, even if the child continues to live within the parents' home.
- To receive Supplemental Security Income, your child must be determined to be disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) definition. When your child becomes 18 years old, he or she must then re-qualify as a disabled adult as the SSA defines it.
- When your child turns 18, he or she may qualify for Medical Assistance to help pay medical expenses if he or she already qualifies for SSI.
- If your child currently receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments because you or your spouse is eligible to receive it, your child will continue to receive the benefit after age 18.
Your lawyer, financial advisor, social worker, and health care providers know what the implications can be. They can help you understand how government benefits may change and what options you have to prepare for and adapt to those changes.
Time flies, doesn't it? And that big birthday will be here before you know it. Be prepared with a life plan that satisfies current and future needs - so you can anticipate your child's 18th birthday with excitement and celebration, not worry and concern. Call us today. We'll show you how easy it is to be wise before the event.
Scott E. Pettyjohn, LUTCF, CLTC
Financial AdvisorSpecial Care Planner
NSWC Financial Services
2004 Augustine Avenue
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401