2020 ushered in a modest increase in Social Security benefits for many of our elder law and estate planning clients (an extra 1.6%, to be exact). For many, though, changes included higher Medicare premiums ($9.10 per month in Part B premiums). Also, (since quite a number of our Geyer Law clients have a family member receiving Social Security disability benefits) we need to mention that for 2020, the “substantial gainful activity limit for non-blind disabled people has risen to $1,260 per month, up $40 from last year. Overall, “as important as Social Security is for those who receive benefits,” Dan Caplinger notes in the Motley Fool, “it’s not an unchanging program.”

By way of quick review, there are actually three main types of Social Security retirement benefits:

  1. retirement benefits for the worker
  2. spousal benefits (for current spouses, former spouses, and widows)
  3. survivor benefits (for spouses, children, or parents of a worker who died)

“Social Security and estate planning go hand in hand because many people who require long term care are also eligible for some form of benefits through the Social Security Administration,” observes Anna Price of the West Virginia law firm Jenkins Fenstermaker. At Geyer Law, we help you assess your financial resources and what you need to do to live comfortably. Our goal is to help you establish a plan for lifelong care that does not deplete all of your hard-earned assets.

When it comes to special needs planning, coordinating with governmental benefits available through the Social Security Administration is crucial. A special needs trust can significantly help your loved one by providing ongoing financial resources. This is a unique type of trust specifically designed for someone with physical and/or mental disabilities, including those who are unable to manage their own finances. As we help design a trust in keeping with your loved one’s specific needs, lifestyle and future, we protect their eligibility to receive government benefits.

Social Security and estate planning really do go hand in hand!

– by Jennifer Hammond, Associate Attorney, Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates