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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > Protecting Your Social Security Benefits In The Event You Become Incapacitated

Protecting Your Social Security Benefits In The Event You Become Incapacitated


The coronavirus pandemic has brought up some very important issues on why you need to have estate planning documents in place. In addition to making sure loved ones are provided for in the event of your passing, they can also protect you and them if you should become incapacitated and unable to attend to your personal or financial affairs. For those who collect Social Security benefits, you need to be aware of the additional steps you need to take in estate planning to ensure these benefits are protected.

Powers of Attorney As They Apply To Social Security Benefits

Becoming ‘incapacitated’  means that you are unable to handle important matters pertaining to your personal care and management of your affairs. This can happen as a result of accidental injuries, sudden illnesses, and chronic mental or physical health conditions. Under New York estate planning laws, Powers of Attorney (POAs) play an important role in these types of situations. They authorize someone you trust to handle your business and financial matters for you during this time. This includes paying bills, maintaining real estate or personal property you possess and managing any business concerns you have. It also involves managing certain types of benefits you receive.

POAs do not apply to Social Security benefits. According to an April 17, 2020 article by Forbes, this is something that many benefit recipients are unaware of. In too many cases, this information is not uncovered until an actual need arises. To protect yourself and your loved ones, the best course of action is to designate someone in advance to act as your representative in receiving Social Security benefits now, as part of your other estate planning tasks.

Advance Designations For Social Security

Once you reach a certain age, you may be entitled to Social Security Administration benefits, which can provide a steady income during retirement. Prior to reaching this age, you may also be entitled to benefits if you suffer any type of long term disability, depending on your prior work history and income. These benefits can end up representing significant amounts of money. It is important to take steps to protect your rights to them.

To do this, you need to complete an Advance Designation of Representative Payee. This names someone you trust to act as your representative in the event unexpected situations should arise. It does not make them an automatic payee-they are simply the person who is entitled to manage or direct SSA benefits on your behalf. The SSA advises that there are no requirements for naming this individual. They should simply be someone you trust who has a genuine concern for your well-being.  You can make this change via mail, online, or by visiting a local field office.

Let Us Help You Today

At Cavallo & Cavallo, we can guide you in making preparations to protect yourself and your loved ones in the face of unexpected events. Call or contact our Bronx & Westchester estate planning attorneys online to request a consultation today.




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