Lawyers Structured Settlements is dedicated to assisting our attorney clients and claimants with a full range of litigation settlement planning resources, in addition to structured settlements. We work closely to identify your client’s short- and long-term financial and life care needs, especially the need to maintain a claimant’s current and future public benefits, including Medicare, Medicaid and SSI payments. Where appropriate, we turn to Board-certified Estates and Trust attorneys with specialized knowledge of settlement planning in personal injury and workers compensation cases, as well as a select group of professional administrators when Medicare Set-Aside or trust administration is required. By offering access to a wide range of settlement services, we provide claimants stability and financial security and protect critical public benefits for claimants and their families. Such resources include, but are not limited to the following:
Medicare Set-Aside Accounts
The Medicare Secondary Payer Act of 1980 has long established that Medicare benefits are secondary to any benefits provided by a third party. The Act further requires that Medicare’s future interests must be protected in litigated and workers comp cases where the MSP Act applies. The most accepted manner of protecting Medicare’s future interests is with a Medicare Set-Aside Account (“MSA”). We assist attorneys and claimants in identifying cases necessitating an MSA, working to assure that there is a proper MSA Allocation Report obtained, and adequately funding the MSA. We also work closely with our MSA administration partners to ensure the MSA Report is submitted to Medicare for approval, that only proper and appropriate medical care is paid for from the MSA, and annual reporting is made to Medicare in order to provide for their future interests while protecting the claimant’s access to future Medicare benefits.
Special Needs Trusts
The common trait of a Special Needs Trust (“SNT”) is that the SNT allows a disabled claimant to maintain access to critically-needed, means-tested government assistance programs, such as Medicaid, SSI payments, Section 8 housing, etc. A properly-created SNT enables those SNT funds to supplement the care and services provided to the claimant (only) under these public programs. Our Trust administration partners have the necessary expertise in an increasingly compliance-oriented litigation environment to protect public benefit eligibility at the time of settlement, and continuing thereafter.
Settlement Preservation Trusts
Settlement Preservation Trusts (“SPT”) are not used to protect Medicaid and SSI eligibility, and therefore SPTs are not governed by the strict Federal statutory and regulatory limitations placed on SNTs. SPTs formed under applicable State law therefore offer not only far greater flexibility, customization and liquidity, but importantly offer significant asset and management protection against exploitation of the claimant and spendthrift tendencies (“wasteful disposition”) which often prematurely dissipates cash settlements. SPTs can also be customized to provide a pre-determined distribution schedule of funds to the claimant. An SPT can also be used to protect vulnerable adults and minor children from the vagaries of a legal guardianship situation. Our Trust administration partners work extensively across the country to provide SPT services including distributions, asset management, regular reports and accountings, tax filings and other necessary Trust administrative services.
Family Security Trusts
Because an SNT is an inappropriate vehicle to protect certain public benefits if the claimant is not disabled, a Family Security Trust (“FST”) can be an invaluable tool to maintain those benefits for the claimant’s family members. Meanwhile, the claimant is able to utilize the funds in the FST to obtain health insurance coverage from other sources, especially under the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, FST funds can be used with far greater flexibility for the care and daily needs of a claimant and his/her family without the limitations imposed on SNT’s under Federal law, much like an SPT. Again, our Trust administration partners have the expertise to work with attorneys and their clients in establishing proper budgeting and necessary administrative services for the claimant and his/her family.