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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13285
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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I was injured 10 yrs ago and last year my case finally

Customer Question

my name is***** was injured 10 yrs ago and last year my case finally settled. When my case was in the alst years it stilllo looked like i would be in assistant livingf or the rest of my life.
The last 2 years I have made remarkable strides. i am a 45 year old very educated woman and make a lot from SSDI. A SNT and MSA was set up with my award so that no one could get a hold of my money and so I would e taken care of until i die
t knowing that i would be like this, I would not have set up the rtrust in an SNT becausei am goingt o get some vocatinonal rehab nad soar again...
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do not likeh o my money is handled. I am an adult and would like to do adult things.. I am about to buy a hosue...a d am address-less right now because of an error i made. But the trust is puttting limits on the house i want and i catn' take it.. I am losing due to them..
How can i dissolve the trust
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
BY the way, I have not used any of my medical for the past 2 years... no med, nothing.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Hi Jodi! I am so sorry for your injury. This is extremely complicated, it seems. Just to be sure I understand:

You have an SNT, meaning a Special Needs Trust, that holds your personal injury settlement moneys. Is this correct?

Who is the contingent beneficiary(ies), should you pass?

You also have SSDIB benefit, as a form of income. Yes?

With the SSDIB, do you have a Representative Payee? Or does the monthly check come right to you?

When you say MSA, do you mean Medicare Set Aside, or do you mean Marital Settlement Agreement?

I'll await your answers. I do have to run out for a bit to a meeting for my regular practice, but I'll check back later. So do feel free to provide answers at your convenience and go about your day, if we don't match up here. I appreciate your asking me your question.

Sincerely,
Stephanie

PS. Don't rate yet, as I have not completed my answer, obviously! Thanks!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have SSDI check come to me in the amount jsut shy of $2000/month. My SNT and MSA wass et up because at the time i needed a cargiver 5 times a week and my meds were thousands a month. Althouogh since my case settled, I have not been on any meds and have recovered to I would say 75% so far. The MSA s medicare set aside.
I willn ot qualify for the SNT much longer.. Now i am buying a house and they are going too hold the deed.. and they are taking their time and I have lost a property already because of their slow conduct
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

I am so happy to hear of your remarkable progress of late - it is surely a testament to your willpower and hard work.

I do need you to answer the remaining questions I posted above. I will post them again.

1) Who is the contingent beneficiary(ies) of the SNT, should you pass?

2) Also, who is the Trustee of the SNT?

3) You also have SSDIB benefit, as a form of income. Yes?

4) With the SSDIB, do you have a Representative Payee? Or does the monthly check come right to you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have no one because i have no one for a beneficiary so i think it is supposed to go to the sate or it ight go to the foindation of the disease i have I am homeless right now and in Denver and all my things are in Pueblo.I thought i had a copy on one drive but cant find it, naturally.
CFPD is who my account is through and Emily Brager is my Trustee. She works for CFPD.
My income is SSDI and it is rgiht now $1980/ month with no SSI supplement . I do not get housing supplemen or food stamps. .The only thing i qulifffied for is my caregiver .. I have been homeless for 4 months now adn living in hotels. I was told I could buy a house but they are so slow and not getting things accomlished on my timeline (oops) and then because one of the houses that i initially picked was in an area that they said may deprecitate and said i could not hVE THAT HOUSE.
Now i am about to lsoe aother.. And they take over 3 weeks for every decision.. I can't live in these hotels all the time qtih my spinal cord injury..
I don'y even qualify for this trust....
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Are you sure? Generally, a properly drafted trust would have a beneficiary after you, for where YOUR benefit goes. I ask this because there was a time when we were able to terminate the unterminable SNT of a fellow whose 'extended' family had created a trust for him, but it was clear it was really for themselves. One fishy smell came from the fact that the beneficiaries were not his potential future lineal descendents (i.e if he got married, had kids, etc.), but went to a bunch of step family members. The trustee was also chosen by his step mother and was extremely stingy with his funds, not even allowing him a better wheel chair, despite having won a HUGE settlement. It took a lot of doing to get a law firm to see what I saw and handle it (I was not in his state, I merely providing some consulting generally) - but they succeeded in getting the trust dissolved based on apparent fraud and conflict of interest. He also didn't have an attorney of his own specifically to represent him on how this trust was to be, when it was being set up,perhaps, which helped.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Are you in Colorado?

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

You do likely qualify for the trust since you are legally disabled as per SSA (which is why you are getting the SSDIB).

But, at near $2000 month income, can you at least in the meantime, get a small apartment, 1 bedroom. While possibly being able to fight to overturn this trust, if that ends up being wise, you can at least live safe, in a home of your own, live modestly but nicely, and save a little so you can ON YOUR OWN, well before that trust issue is determined, save enough for a down payment for a new place. I am thinking that you can work both ends so that you can't fail at getting your home regardless of how long the trust issue takes.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am in CO. I think that I will be able to go to a job soon. I have a high level of education butbiwll not be able to work my job.
I think the state would get my money. Iktruthfully have no one aobi woulß not have anyone
I am so depressed that I losing it
I know o have to have some gove
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Are you getting STATE medical assistance? I.e. Medicaid?

Or are you ONLY getting Medicare?

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

I am running out the door for a meeting, but please do check back and try to answer the questions, maybe re-read the above. That case I was telling you about WAS in COLORADO, I believe. I may be able to locate the mother of the man who needed that trust overturned, and perhaps she can tell me who the cracker jack law firm was that ran with our assertions and succeeded. You could call them and they may hop on board if there is something fishy here. We could try, anyway. Let me know.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't believe that there is anything fishy, to be honest. I just don't think that this trust is suited for me. I will be able to work again, I am sure. When the trust was set up, my doctors did not see a positive future ahead. They saw me in ad out of nurslingrecei facilities and totally reliant on those who care for me.
Because i am now disabled I do receive SSDI. I didn't qualitfy for Medicaid up unitl 2 years ago. I only get one benefit and that is a nurses aide to help me because my ADLs are limited due to paralysis of my right side.
I received a very large sum of money but when i really think about my wagees, that settlement was piddly compared to m lifetime earnings.or even the earning I lost in that 10 years, not to mention every thing else i lost..
I jusr want to live a half-way decent live. I can't believe that things have resorted to thisl. As of right now I am not getting any state assistance because I am homeless and ave no where for my care giver to go. I never qualified for food stamps, housing, financial assistance, only for medical assistance which is pretty big in my book. I don't have any medical issuea though andI still have my Medicare Part D. So it is not a big loss to lose the Medicaid as ir was 2 years ago before i learned to walk and feed myself.
And I am sure if I had a stroke tomorrow, I wouldl neeed that medicaid. so i will jsut reappply if I find out i on't be abe to wwork...
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

You need to find out if this is a true SNT that is unrevocable as SNTs are generally required to be. If it is not revocable, they are you stuck as the beneficiary, generally, at the mercy of the Trustee, unless you can get her removed.

I am concerned that you are homeless when you bring in nearly $24k/year from SSD. Why not rent an apartment? You have more than enough income to do so. You could even get a mortgage on a reasonably priced small home in an affordable region. And once you get through our trial work period, establishing that you can earn substantial (over $1090/mo) income, your SSDIB will discontinue and you can rely on your work.

If the trust is not revocable, you may be stuck with its status, and since you believe nothing fishy is going on (but really? the state is your beneficiary? That makes no sense. And they will not let you spend your money on a new home?) You need to learn about the terms of this trust if you want to put it to better use or see if it can be terminated.

Do you otherwise have any other questions on this? Anything we didn't touch on with regard to your concern here?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am only homeless entirely because they take so long to make decisions. I mean I am buying a $60,000 home in Pueblo . I write grants and can get any thing practicallly for a home needed as evidencedd bt my history.. .ughggh. i am getting friustrated and want my fing money that i worked hard for and I put in this stupid trust thinking iwas going to be a vegetable.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

OK, so... do you plan on seeing if the trust can be terminated? I mean, that money is not owned by you anymore, legally speaking. It is owned by the trustee. So unless she is going to loosen up those purse strings to your satisfaction, you are in a bind.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Here is some more on this trustee's power and how SNT's if complying with the SSA rules (and or possibly your state's medicaid)

http://shikumalaw.com/why-a-special-needs-trust-cant-automatically-terminate-when-the-beneficiary-gets-better/

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Look at the LAST paragraph, in particular. IN theory, if well thought out, given her discretion, the Trustee CAN spend it all, such as on that new home, etc.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To Stephanie O Joy Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

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