Structured settlements are structured cash payments through an annuity system that is established to compensate injury victims for their losses. Structured settlements are the other alternative payment system to a lump sum cash settlement and are set up to provide payments to you over time.
Structured settlements received special legislative treatment by the U.S. Congress in 1982, as a way to make large settlements more agreeable to parties and provide certain protection to victims.
As a result, many people now choose a structured settlement agreement over a lump sum distribution, and courts often award them in civil actions where there will be long-term costs of living and the necessity for obtaining cash payments at some point in the future.
Under a structured settlement, the victim will receive compensation over an extended period of time (often a lifetime) instead of a large single payment. The structured settlement is a way of protecting the victim from economic loss and hardship, while also making the payout more palatable to the defendant.
The United States has enacted structured settlement laws and regulations at both the federal and state levels. Federal structured settlement laws include sections of the Federal Internal Revenue Code. State structured settlement laws include structured settlement protection statutes and periodic payment of judgment statutes. Medicaid and Medicare laws and regulations impact structured settlements. To preserve a claimant’s Medicare and Medicaid benefits, structured settlement payments may be incorporated into “Medicare Set Aside Arrangements” the “Special Needs Trusts”.