Anyone who is receiving government benefits, whether they receive Medicare, Medicaid, Supplement Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI) or food stamps, must adhere to strict income standards in order to maintain their benefits. In most cases, this is not difficult as those who receive such benefits are often unable to accept employment that will cover their expenses. If you are injured in an accident, it is critical to understand how a personal injury settlement could affect your governmental benefits.
Type of Aid Received
The first step in determining whether your personal injury claim could affect your governmental benefits is to understand exactly what type of benefits you have. This may not be as easy as it seems since different benefits are often confused or misidentified. Although Medicare and Medicaid sound very similar, they actually provide benefits for different reasons. The same is true of SSI and SSDI. Medicaid is coverage provided to the needy and to the disabled while Medicare provides coverage to the elderly. SSI is a cash benefit provided to those who are older while SSDI is for those who are disabled and unable to work.
Lump Sum Payments
If you receive a large lump sum payment as the result of a personal injury claim, it is possible that you could lose some or all of your benefits for a certain period if the payment cause you to exceed the limits on income based on program guidelines. Even if you choose to give away your settlement to family members, you may still lose benefits or the government could seek reimbursement for benefits you have already been paid.
Notify Governmental Agency
After you have decided to seek a personal injury claim, you are required under the law to notify the governmental agency who handles your benefits. In California, you can report the claim using an online form. This is required because governmental agencies are required to report third party actions pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Codes. In California, notice must be given online or in writing by mail within 30 days of the personal injury action or claim.
It is possible that some of your accident settlement will include medical expenses that may already have been paid by Medicaid or Medicare. If this is the case, you are responsible for repaying the governmental agency for the expenses they have incurred due to your accident injuries. In most cases, an attorney will arrange to have their reimbursements taken directly from your settlement.
Hiring an Attorney
One of the most important things to do after a personal injury is to discuss your case with a qualified attorney. This is especially important if you are receiving governmental benefits as an attorney can help you protect those benefits while seeking the compensation you deserve under the law for your injury. An attorney can advise you on the best approach to take in order to preserve your benefits. They will also work to get you compensation for your medical bills as well as pain and suffering caused by your injury. It is important to remember that an attorney may not be able to prevent you from losing some or all benefits if your accident settlement is very large, but they can help you reduce your losses by working with the governmental agencies and insurance company for the person who injured you.
If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury and are receiving governmental benefits, contact El Dabe Law Offices today to learn what rights you may have. As Los Angeles personal injury lawyers, they can help you get the compensation you deserve while helping you maintain as much of your current benefits as possible. You can arrange for your initial consultation by calling 1-888-540-0836 or by completing the easy query form on our website at https://www/personalinjurylawyerslosangeles.com.