Social Security benefits can be a valuable lifeline to those who are eligible and in need of assistance. One of these benefits is Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, which was designed to help those of limited means cover their basic needs. But if you suddenly recover a significant amount of money through a personal injury claim, your settlement could impact the benefits you receive.
The Texas personal injury lawyers at Ketterman, Rowland & Westlund have been helping accident victims for more than 30 years. We have helped our clients recover millions in compensation. Keep reading to learn more about how personal injury claims can affect SSI benefits, and if you have further questions, contact our office to see how we can help with your case.
How Personal Injury Settlements Affect SSI in Texas
Because SSI is “needs-based,” if your income or asset levels change, such changes can affect your eligibility for these benefits.
Suppose you’re injured through someone else’s negligence and file an insurance claim or personal injury suit against them. In that case, you may end up receiving a substantial sum in compensation.. A large personal injury settlement would represent a major increase in your assets, which might leave you ineligible to continue receiving SSI benefits. Therefore, it’s imperative to be aware of these issues and take appropriate steps to protect your benefits.
If you are already receiving SSI benefits at the time you file a personal injury claim, the defense will likely argue that you have a pre-existing health condition, which could lower the amount you receive through a settlement.
Does a Personal Injury Settlement Affect Medicare? Medicaid? Other Benefits?
Personal injury settlements generally affect eligibility for needs-based benefits, not other kinds of benefits. Medicare eligibility, for example, is based on your age and certain disabling health conditions. This means that if you receive a substantial personal injury settlement, you will most likely still be eligible for Medicare.
On the other hand, Medicaid eligibility is partly based on your income, which means that a large personal injury settlement may make you ineligible for continued benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are not generally affected by a personal injury settlement. These benefits are based on your employment history, not your financial circumstances. Your lawyer can tell you more about how a personal injury settlement may affect other public benefits you currently receive.
How to Protect Your Benefits
You shouldn’t have to choose between receiving a personal injury settlement and continuing to be eligible for SSI benefits. One way to protect your benefits is to set up a special needs trust, which allows you to keep both a personal injury settlement and certain public benefits, provided the trust is set up correctly. A lawyer can assist with this process.
How KRW Lawyers Can Assist
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Ketterman, Rowland & Westlund have proudly served injured Texans across the state for many years. We fight for the rights of those who’ve been harmed by negligence, and we’ll be ready to stand up for you. We want to protect your SSI benefits and will look for ways to structure personal injury settlements that do not jeopardize your benefits.
For a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team, call us or reach out to us online.
Douglas D. Ketterman is the originator and founder of Ketterman, Rowland & Westlund where he currently serves as President and Managing Shareholder. Douglas has extensive experience in handling all types of civil litigation. He graduated with honors from St. Mary’s School of Law in 1989 and has been Board Certified as a Specialist in Personal Injury Trial Law since 1998 by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.