Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Is VA Disability Considered a Structured Settlement?

Are you a veteran who has been awarded a personal injury settlement and worried that it might affect your VA disability benefits? Rest assured: your compensation can be structured into a special needs trust so that government assistance won’t be affected.

Structured settlements are long-term payment plans that replace lump sum awards with regular payments to cover medical and living expenses, providing financial security to injured victims.

What is a structured settlement?

Structured settlements are financial agreements that guarantee injured victims a series of tax-exempt payments over an agreed upon period to cover future medical expenses and basic living needs.

Settlements can be reached as part of a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death claim, as well as workers compensation cases and certain types of medical malpractice claims.

Structured settlements require both parties to come to an agreement on the terms before a judge can approve them. This includes how much money will be paid out, how it’s distributed and for how long. Once approved by a judge, plaintiffs receive these settlement funds as periodic payments from defendant or insurance company who paid out the money.

Payment schedules can be tailored to each recipient’s individual needs. For instance, parents with young children may request larger payments in the early years to cover education expenses for their kids.

People may opt to defer these payments until retirement age if desired, making this a convenient option for those wanting to manage their cash flow more effectively.

Furthermore, these payments are nontaxable and do not impact eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid or Social Security Disability. This makes the financial toll of an accident much lighter to bear.

Another advantage of a structured settlement is that it helps the victim sidestep creditors and loved ones who may be asking for handouts. This is particularly useful in cases where the victim can no longer work due to injuries such as traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury.

If someone decides they no longer wish to receive their settlement in installments, they can sell their rights to their structured settlement annuity plan. This is usually done through a third-party entity which purchases the annuity and pays the seller a smaller lump sum payment.

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Selling your structured settlement can be a complex process that requires the help of a broker with expert knowledge in this industry. They will usually make an offer in writing and you have time to discuss all options with them before deciding if selling is the best course of action for you.

How is a structured settlement calculated?

Structured settlements are a type of compensation designed to pay out periodic payments over time. They may be an appropriate solution for many personal injury cases, such as VA disability cases.

Structured settlements are calculated based on each individual’s circumstances and preferences. Terms can be agreed to during negotiations between plaintiff and defendant, or by a court ruling.

Structured settlements typically involve the purchase of an annuity from an insurance company. This annuity is funded with part of the settlement amount and will provide regular, tax-exempt payments to the victim until their death.

Once the initial structured settlement agreement is signed, a qualified assignee will be chosen and money transferred to an insurance company to purchase annuities. If recipients pass away before these payments equal to what has been paid out in premiums, any remaining sum will be paid out in lump sum to their contract owner.

To select an annuity company and create a settlement payment schedule that works for everyone, it is best to consult a qualified attorney or financial adviser. It is essential to select a firm with a solid reputation for customer service excellence.

Structured settlements can also be an efficient way to avoid taxes on lump sums of money. If you win a lawsuit and receive such an amount, taxes may apply on dividends and interest when invested.

Structured settlement calculators can help you estimate the value of your future payments. While they can be helpful when deciding whether or not to sell your structured settlement, keep in mind that these calculations are not precise and may result in the loss of some funds.

Structured settlements can be an attractive option for accident victims, but it’s essential that they consider all the advantages and potential risks before making a final decision. Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney is recommended in order to gain more information about available options and weigh the pros and cons before committing to a structured settlement.

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What happens if I receive a structured settlement?

Structured settlements may affect your eligibility for VA disability benefits, though this is not always the case.

Structured settlements are commonly awarded in cases where plaintiffs have amassed substantial funds from their injury claim. This money is invested into an annuity that will provide a steady stream of income over time.

The amount of these payments can differ year to year, or they can be distributed as a lump sum payment which will allow you to take advantage of the tax advantages associated with a structured settlement.

If you require cash quickly, a factoring company may offer discounted rates on structured settlement payments. This type of financing is commonly used to pay off debt or make other necessary purchases.

Structured settlements can be an advantageous way to invest your own funds and build up a larger nest egg for retirement. Furthermore, they protect your assets from unexpected losses or lawsuits.

When determining whether or not you should accept a structured settlement, consulting an experienced attorney is recommended. Doing so will guarantee that you receive a fair deal and your case is properly resolved.

Additionally, it’s wise to consult with an attorney regarding any public benefits you may be eligible for. These could include Social Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and food assistance programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

Furthermore, it’s essential to be aware that many public benefits have financial eligibility limits. This can significantly restrict your monthly income or the amount paid out in payments for medical services.

Additionally, if you receive a structured settlement, it is wise to speak with an attorney about how this will impact your VA disability benefits. Doing so can help determine if a structured settlement is the best financial decision for you and your family’s future.

Finally, be aware of any cost-of-living adjustments that will be applied to your VA back pay over time. These modifications are meant to reflect rising living costs and guard against veteran disability compensation being reduced over time.

How does a structured settlement affect my VA disability benefits?

Veterans who have suffered serious injury should be aware that any settlements you receive can affect your VA disability benefits. The VA considers settlements income when calculating disability pension and Aid and Attendance benefits.

Veterans often face confusion when they receive a structured settlement award, wondering how this will impact their benefits. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to safeguard your VA disability benefits from being reduced due to receiving a structured settlement award.

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The initial step in any medical crisis is gathering all relevant information. This includes your VA service records, private physician documents, and letters from friends or family who have known you in the past.

Once you collect all necessary information, you can apply for VA disability benefits either online or by mail. Please bear in mind that the application process can be lengthy and involve several rounds of appeals.

Once your case is approved, you will be entitled to monthly compensation. This benefit helps cover living expenses and other costs related to an injury or disability that was not your fault.

You may use the VA disability compensation you receive to finance medical treatments like chemotherapy or spinal surgery, among others.

Another option is to use the money received through a structured settlement to pay for your Medicare set asides (MSA). Doing this ensures you adhere to CMS regulations and avoid penalties or fines that could prove costly for many claimants.

Finally, if your settlement is sufficient to cover your medical bills, you can use the money for other needs-based government benefits like home modifications, medication, or attendant care. This won’t have an adverse impact on Medicaid, SSI, or other government assistance programs.

Are you uncertain how a structured settlement will affect your benefits? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Joye Law Firm for all of your questions and support. Call us or fill out our online case evaluation form now for assistance!

Jeffrey Augers
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By Jeffrey Augers

Jeffrey Augers is a highly skilled and experienced financial analyst with over 12 years of experience in the finance industry. He has a proven track record of delivering exceptional financial insights and recommendations to clients, empowering them to make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals. Jeffrey holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.