Well since I don't know the exact wording of the original assignment that makes presenting an argument rather difficult. But lets see what we can do.
We for starters our US Constitution sets a frame work for the governing of our country. One of the things that the 1st Congress did right off the bat was to create a list of Amendments called the Bill of Rights. These rights have been expanded by the Congress via additional amendments and the courts have expanded those rights as well.
The most telling of all these rights expansions is the addition of the 14th Amendment which provides for the equality of every person within the US. Level the playing field should we say. In doing so no one race, religion, color or individual can claim more rights than any other person.
In the 1st Amendment we are given certain guarantees also. The Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly, Freedom of the Press and very importantly petition of the Government for redress of Grievances. Each of these adds to the protection from our own government the possibility of disenfranchisement of any of the rights to which we are granted. This is the direction that the fight for basic civil rights has taken since the outlawing of slavery, women's suffrage and the civil rights acts of the 1960's.
Along with all those we have court actions specifically when addressing the equality of the basic civil right of marriage the US Supreme Court case of Loving v Virgina 1967, where in the court stated "it is a basic civil right of any person (legal adult) to marry any other person (legal adult) of their choosing" This decision came some 19 years after the California State Supreme Court stated in Perez v Sharp 1949 -- "a person has the basic civil right to marry whom so ever they choose to marry"
Although both of these cases were race based decisions, the core of the decisions did not address race but the basic civil right of marriage itself, where in it is a civil contract between two consenting adults to abide by the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the civil marriage contract.
In a side aspect of the failure to provide equal treatment for gay couples there is reasonable consideration of the 5th Amendments violation of Due Process and the 9th Amendment violation of the enumerations intent where in those rights are retained to the people, as individuals and as the group.
There is also a tremendous amount of case law that has been seen by both state and federal courts showing that the discrimination against any one group of people is unconstitutional. One of the Founding Fathers James Madison made it very clear in his introduction of the Bill of Rights that one of the very things he feared most was the very real possibility of the majority acting against a minority. And he stated
"In our Government it is, perhaps, less necessary to guard against the abuse in the executive department than any other; because it is not the stronger branch of the system, but the weaker. It therefore must be leveled against the legislative, for it is the most powerful, and most likely to be abused, because it is under the least control. Hence, so far as a declaration of rights can tend to prevent the exercise of undue power, it cannot be doubted but such declaration is proper. But I confess that I do conceive, that in a Government modified like this of the United States, the great danger lies rather in the abuse of the community than in the legislative body. The prescriptions in favor of liberty ought to be leveled against that quarter where the greatest danger lies, namely, that which possesses the highest prerogative of power. But it is not found in either the executive or legislative departments of Government, but in the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority."
1. A personal injury settlement (lump sum payment) DOES affect a recipient’s eligibility for the SSI, Food Stamps and TAFDC programs.
1a. A personal injury settlement (lump sum payment) DOES NOT affect a recipient’s eligibility for the SSDI, Masshealth Commonhealth and Section 8.
2. A personal injury settlement (lump sum payment) does not affect a recipient’s eligibility for any of these programs when transferred to a special needs trust for the benefit of the recipient. The whole point of a SNT is to ensure the individual remains eligible for public benefits.
2a. A funded special needs trusts should be irrevocable, this ensure that no changes can be made to the trust document. So once the money in the trusts, its in the trust! Whether its a discretionary /non-discretionary trust, that depends on the grantor and how much trust is placed on the trustee. I would think a non-discretionary trusts is fine as long as it does not impede with additional funds going into the trust.
2b. That’s a loaded question, although the short answer is that funds from the trust should only be used for things not acquired from public benefits because it defeats the purpose. Furthermore, it is imperative that if you do a SNT you find a qualified lawyer who SOLELY deals with special needs trusts. It cannot be simply a estate planning lawyer or one that deals with all sorts of trusts, it must be a lawyer that specializes in special needs trusts. The wording of these trusts must be very precise, public benefit agencies will look over these trusts with a microscope so its very important that they are written correctly.