Insurance help with Medicare/SSDI
January 2, 2014 1:43 PM   Subscribe

When my parent died, they had a pension/insurance policy from their government job which was meant to pay out half to me and half to my grandmother. The problem is I am afraid my grandmother (who is old and sick and getting regular medical treatment) shouldn't accept the payout because she's on Medicare/SSDI and can't have an income. I remember getting a 1099 for my half, so it is definitely considered income. I have no idea what to do or where to go for help about this. I am in New York City, although this concerns the state pension system.

She's fine with it being transferred over to me, but we can't figure out how to do that and the government is unresponsive. I just want to make sure that accepting it won't nullify her insurance (the payout does not remotely cover an old person's healthcare costs.) I want to do everything on the level and have no problem paying money to make sure of that.

Does anyone have a lawyer or an accountant or someone who knows about this and can help us out? My lawyer has no idea what to do and I called around and I can't find any lawyers who understand how the state pension system and the Medicare/SSDI system interact.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (7 answers total)
I am on SSDI and Medicare and it is not that cut and dried about income. I would call Social Security and talk with them directly. Or if that is to scary call a senior resource center for help. Every big city and most small ones have one. They will either help you directly or tell you where to go.
posted by cairnoflore at 2:24 PM on January 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I meant to add that it is earned income that SSDI care's about not income from other sources. I am basing this on direct experience. I had 90,000 in the bank at one point and it did not affect my SSDI or medicare. If she receives any state aid that is a different story.
posted by cairnoflore at 2:30 PM on January 2, 2014

It may be too late, but a possibly relevant topic is called "disclaiming" an inheritance. You'd have to contact the relevant professional to see if its applicable. If your grandmother can successfully disclaim what is owed to her, then her share never legally becomes hers and instead would get transferred to the other beneficiaries.
posted by dcjd at 3:16 PM on January 2, 2014

My grandmother is on Medicare/Medicaid/another insurance policy (she woudn't give up)/SSDI and got an inheritance from a relative's will several years ago. The only thing it affected (if I remember correctly) is her Medicaid. Because she had a signficiant "income", it simply cut off her Medicaid benefits until she spent that money back down below the limit that should be in her bank account. It didn't affect her Medicare at all, and she had that other insurance policy to act as her secondary insurance until the Medicaid kicked back in. I'm not sure how the SSDI income changed.

This is also based on the state Medicaid rules that she lives in. Best thing to do is ask. Medicare isn't income's either age or disability dependent, so her primary insurance won't go away. However, look at it this way...if she gets the payout, she uses that money to pay any medical expenses that Medicare doesn't cover until she spends down the amount, then she can reapply for her SSDI (or do whatever they say to get that benefit again). I think in my grandmother's case she had spent down her amount within 10 months, so it wasn't that long (your amount may vary).
posted by MultiFaceted at 3:20 PM on January 2, 2014

You can talk to an attorney that specializes in Medicaid eligibility and Mediciad planning. There are certain types of income trusts that the money could go into to be used towards her care but disqualify it from being counted as income. IANAL and IANYL, obviously.
posted by splitinfinitive at 5:42 PM on January 2, 2014

There are big differences between Medicaid and Medicare, and between SSI and SSDI, and between earned income and unearned income. Speaking generally, and not specifically addressing your situation, Medicare and SSDI don't have asset limits, and unearned income should not affect eligibility. If you'd like referrals for NYC attorneys who can advise you on your situation, feel free to memail me.
posted by Mavri at 8:01 PM on January 2, 2014

You can call the Mid-Atlantic Pension Counseling Project. Full disclosure: it's part of the free legal services organization I work for. You should be able to get advice on both the pension and SSDI/Medicaid issues. Good luck.
posted by lassie at 10:25 PM on January 2, 2014

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