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Will receiving a settlement in a class action suit affect a person's SSI benefits?

Philadelphia, PA |

A 48-year old male has physical and mental disabilities for which he is getting SSI benefits. He expects to receive a settlement in a class action suit because of the effects of his taking the drug Avandia--such as 2 heart attacks and congestive heart failure. Will the settlement he receives affect his receiving SSI benefits?

Attorney Answers 3


Yes, unless this is properly placed in a special needs trust it will disqualify him from SSI since a recipient of SSI cannot have more than $2,000.00 in liquid assets.

This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is not meant and should not be construed to be the formation of an attorney client relationship. I practice Virginia Workers compensation law and Social Security Disability law.

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If he is getting SSI and not SSDI, then yes. All assets - money, cash value life insurance, extra cars - and injury claim settlements too - are included as an asset.

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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As the other two answers note, if the settlement puts him above the asset limit for SSI, he would no longer receive benefits.

As Mr. Lutkenhaus notes, if a special needs trust could prevent his disqualification. You need to be proactive and get the trust set up ahead of time so that the settlement funds can go directly to the trust when they are disbursed.

I recommend contacting an attorney who is familiar with setting up special needs trusts. Good luck.

This response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. It does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. This response is based upon the limited facts provided by the posted question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response may change. I am licensed to practice law only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Responses are based solely on Pennsylvania law unless stated otherwise.

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