From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Giving gifts to a people with developmental disabilities, like Sarah Michael (left, with her family), during the holiday season can put their government benefits in jeopardy if not done properly.
If the gifts or benefits exceed $2,000 in total assets, the government can freeze critical benefits such as Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security income or Social Security income.
“We see a lot of holiday celebrations, birthdays, communions and bar mitzvahs where people make several small monetary donations to special needs children, and if those compile over $2,000, their benefits are in jeopardy,” said Helen Sims, a special care planner with the Downtown financial planning group Guyaux Mandler Mah, which is affiliated with MassMutual Group.
… Families with disabled children can provide more security for them without disqualifying the child from government benefits by creating a special needs trust.