California Birth Injury: How Special Needs Trusts Preserve Medi-Cal Benefits
UPDATED: August 5, 2019
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CA Birth Injury Attorney J. Niley Dorit
J. Niley Dorit, a California attorney whose practice represents birth injury victims, says that if a patient had previously been eligible for Medi-Cal to help them with paying of the cost of their medical care, once they settle a case, they would normally be disqualified from obtaining that Medi-Cal benefit anymore in California. He explained how a special needs trust can preserve those benefits:
If we take the settlement money and put it into a special trust thats tailored just to provide for certain kinds of special needs that are not otherwise paid for by Medi-Cal, then they can retain their governmental Medi-Cal benefits plan.
They can still accept the money and settlement and use it for the things that Medi-Cal would not help pay for, most importantly for things like people to come in and provide 24-hour a day care or if they need some kind of therapy or more frequent therapy than what Medi-Cal provides.
Budgetary issues affecting Medi-Cal services
Nowadays with the budget issues, one of the biggest Medi-Cal related public benefits is in-home healthcare services, which is where the state of California will provide for a certain number of hours per month at the states expense in home care services. Dorit told us:
That was protected by using a special needs trust, but unfortunately, I think in-home healthcare services are either being eliminated or limited. But nonetheless, specials needs trusts are really, really important vehicles to use in a settlement in order to maximize the patient's ability to both use their settlement funds and keep their state public benefits for healthcare.
If you've been injured due to a hospital or HMO's negligence, contact an experienced California birth injury attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. You may be entitled to compensation.