Many people who bring medical negligence claims are unable to work as a result of their injuries. Therefore, they are in desperate need of financial help by way of receiving compensation.
If you are successful in your medical negligence claim and receive some compensation, then any benefits you claim now, or may wish to claim in the future, may be at risk – but fear not, there is a way to safeguard your income!
If your medical negligence compensation, when added to any existing savings you have, amounts to more than £6,000 (or £14,250 for local authority support), your entitlement to benefits is affected.
It is of vital importance, therefore, if you have received compensation moneys, and receive means-tested state benefits, that you arrange a Special Needs Trust to protect your benefits entitlement.
You have a legal right to set up a Personal Injury Special Needs Trust for this very purpose, which applies not only to benefits you currently receive but also any benefits to which you may be entitled to in the future.
The Special Needs Trust will also allow you to save, or spend, your compensation at any time while still being paid your benefits.
What if I intend to spend the money straight away?
If instead you plan to spend your compensation so that you have less than £6,000 (or £14,250 for local authority support) within one year of first receiving it, then there is no need to set up a Personal Injury Trust.
The year-long countdown clock starts ticking from the date you were first paid any money, which includes any interim payments you have received prior to the final amount!
PLEASE REMEMBER – You are obliged by law to notify the DWP (or local authority) of any change in your financial circumstances that could affect your benefit entitlement, and you MUST notify them to trigger the start of the year’s disregard.
We recommend, however that you should not deliberately rid yourself of your compensation in order to claim or increase your entitlement to benefits, as this can be held against you when claiming benefits in the future. A rash decision in the short term could cause you problems in the years to come!
Planning for the Future
Even if you aren’t currently in receipt of benefits or there is no prospect in the future of you receiving any state benefits or Local Authority Support, you may wish to establish a Personal Injury Trust for reasons unrelated to state benefits.
Whether you want to divide up your family assets for protection from unscrupulous individuals, start budget planning, or just to safely save your award for your long term future. These are all things that a Special Needs Trust can help you achieve.
At Medical Solicitors, we recommend that you discuss your situation with an independent expert as soon as possible to protect your financial position. We can put you in touch with Specialist Independent Financial Advice services, who will discuss your situation with you free of charge.
They can advise whether a Personal Injury Trust is appropriate for you and offer advice on where best to place your money.
About Medical Solicitors
Our friendly team of specialist lawyers at Medical Solicitors have plenty of experience in bringing successful medical negligence claims. These compensation settlements often lead to Special Needs Trusts being set up.
Compensation can be claimed where there has been inappropriate advice given concerning treatment options and the risks and benefits of the various options, where there have been excessive delays in providing you with treatment, or where there has been any substandard care that amounts to actual Medical Negligence.
Do contact our friendly team of specialist lawyers at Medical Solicitors. We conduct most of our Clinical and Medical Negligence claims under ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreements, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements. So, you do not have to worry about how you are going to afford to bring a compensation claim. You have nothing to lose in speaking to us.