Planning for care. For life.

Case Study – An Immediate Return on Investment

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An initial investment of $2000 in NCA consulting services resulted in over $11,000 in back Social Security benefits paid and ongoing Social Security payments of $770/month from this point forward for the client. In addition, a comprehensive Special Needs Plan was created for this family, specific to their quality of life vision for all family members – developed in collaboration with their special needs attorney and financial planning advisor.


A family was referred to NCA by their Financial Manager because they were interested in figuring out their financial and estate plan for their 23-year-old son, who has hearing impairment and developmental disability. The couple was under the impression that their son was not eligible for Social Security benefits because he has been employed at the local high school cafeteria since he graduated from high school and he is capable of driving very locally in his community. In addition, they thought that as parents, they had too much money in their household for their son to receive benefits. It is interesting to note that this young man was receiving case management/vocational support services through his local County Developmental Disability provider with virtually no solid benefits advocacy provided to his parents.

The parents had consulted with a special needs attorney and had started the process for establishing a third party Special Needs Trust – but they were not sure when and how to fund this trust, or next steps in projecting the future value of benefits their son might be eligible to receive.

National Care Advisors Involvement:

The family engaged National Care Advisors for a comprehensive planning consultation regarding their son. The process included assisting the parents to define their vision regarding when they thought their son would need to transition to a home other than the parents’ home and who would be the successor to make sure that he had the best possible quality of life. They have one other son, who is doing very well in college and while they envisioned the brothers having an excellent, close relationship as adults, they did not want to impact the quality of life of their younger son in their plan for their older son.

In the consultation process, NCA recommended that the parents should immediately apply for Social Security benefits for their son, because he meets all disability criteria, receives supported job/vocational services through Developmental Disability Services, and he works about 4-6 hours per day, only during the school year. With the assistance and guidance of NCA, the parents filled out the form to become representative for their son’s Social Security benefits and make application, with solid functional ability documentation from all medical and social service providers for their son. In addition, there was additional documentation submitted regarding the ongoing supportive services required by their son in order to sustain his independence. Please note much of this support is provided by his parents on an unpaid basis. The Social Security Redbook was essential to the preparation for the application and interview process and the parents were guided through this process by NCA. The application was submitted in March.


In September, the Social Security Administration determined that their son met Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) criteria and awarded back benefits for about 14 months, amounting to over $11,000. In addition, he was awarded benefits on a go forward basis of $770 per month.

He received SSDI because he had his own work history (albeit, part-time) for enough quarters to qualify for this benefit. He will be eligible for Medicare as well, because he is receiving SSDI. (Please note this was a pleasant surprise – NCA was fairly confident that this individual was eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but SSDI is even better!)

It is highly likely that this individual has been eligible for Social Security (SSI) benefits since age 18 – had his parents been guided to apply for the benefit at that time. The value of the lost benefits from age 18 to age 22 is estimated to be over $35,000. 

This individual is also eligible for Medicaid. Currently his parents have family health insurance benefits to cover the younger son. At a future date, they will most likely be able to drop family coverage as Medicare and Medicaid will be excellent coverage for their son with special needs.

The outcome of this family’s comprehensive planning analysis demonstrates that in order to accomplish their vision for their son’s quality of life, a monthly recurring allocation of approximately $2500 (2017 dollars) will be required from his Special Needs Trust from about the son’s age of 45 to his end of life. This includes the value of third party benefits – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Developmental Disability support services in their community.

The vision includes that the son will be living with his parents until about his age of 45 – at which time, the parents will have aged to the point that a transition will be necessary. They will be charging their son rent from his wage earnings and Social Security – so they will have an additional income stream for the next 21 years, beyond their current income and expected retirement income. These funds could be very effectively be used to purchase an appropriate life insurance policy to fund the third party special needs trust established for their son and/or also purchase Long Term Care insurance so that their estate is preserved to meet all family goals.

Their financial manager now has excellent information for the financial analysis to develop the financial plan that will assist this family to accomplish their goals and vision of funding a Special Needs Trust for their son. The parents have a written plan and cost projection that they can review annually with their financial planner and their attorney, to make sure that all new and changed circumstances over time are considered.

The collaborative process between National Care Advisors, the family and their financial and legal advisors is a win, win, win – and has a clear, quantifiable return on investment.