What is a “Structured” Settlement?

What it Is – How it Works?

[By Staff Reporters]

A structured settlement (sometimes called a “periodic payment settlement”) is a claim settlement under which some of the proceeds will be payable in deferred installments in lieu of immediate cash.


What does that mean to you? Settlements paid in the form of a single lump sum, especially in catastrophic injury cases, place claimants, and their families, in the position of having to manage money which may be intended to provide for a lifetime of medical and income needs.

Most people are not experienced in handling large sums of money and as a result, the money is often either spent too quickly or invested leaving little or nothing to cover the future needs of the seriously injured person.


Structured settlements were developed in order to create a more stable financial footing for claimants.  In 1982, the use of structured settlements was encouraged by Congress and special tax code was written. Instead of receiving a single lump sum, guaranteed payments can be made to you over time, through the purchase of an annuity, to better meet your financial needs.


The Internal Revenue Service determined that since the money you receive through a structured settlement is compensation for an injury, you will never pay taxes on any of the payments (principal or interest). There are two primary articles of legislation governing the tax treatment of structured settlements.

For more information regarding tax treatment of structured settlements, please visit the following pages: IRC 104 (a)(2) and IRC 130.  For other legislative actions and tax codes related to structured settlements, please click on one of the following links:  The Periodic Payment Settlement Act of 1982, 468B, 72(u) or 5891.


Payments from a structured settlement can be scheduled for any length of time, even for your lifetime. Payment designs can include bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual payments as well as future lump sums. Ongoing payments can be in level amounts or can keep up with inflation by using a Cost of Living Adjustment (“COLA”). Since you work with the Structured Settlement Consultant to determine the payment design, you can remain confident that your future financial needs are addressed.

If a single lump sum payment is taken as compensation for an injury, it is tax-free but any additional income (called “Interest Income”) you receive from investing the lump sum will be taxable. The bottom line is that structured settlements provide you with a unique opportunity to take advantage of an investment without risk OR tax consequences.





At the core of the federal tax code’s explicit recognition of structured settlements is the concept of” constructive receipt”.

For a concise explanation about Congress’ intent and how the Internal Revenue Service has traditionally interpreted the application of constructive receipt, click here for the National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) brochure, Structured Settlements: Explaining Constructive Receipt.

To download the NSSTA brochure, Structured Settlements and Qualified Assignments: How Federal Tax Rules Benefit all Parties in a Claim, click here.


Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/HealthcareFinancialsthePostForcxos

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com


Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors : Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™ book cover

ORDER: https://www.crcpress.com/Risk-Management-Liability-Insurance-and-Asset-Protection-Strategies-for/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781498725989

3 Responses

  1. What is Subrogation

    In almost all personal injury claims where there is health insurance, the word subrogation comes up. What is subrogation? Subrogation is a fancy word for when the health insurance company, which pays out for medical expenses, has the right to get reimbursed out of any personal injury claim.

    To get this right, they have to have this in the health insurance contract. You have to look at this contract to determine how strong this right to reimbursement is in your health insurance contract. Some are very strong, like if your plan is the federally funded ERISA plan. The right of reimbursement is real and it should not be ignored.

    So if you receive a letter from one of your health insurance carriers or someone they hire, like Ingenix, it’s something you need to turnover to your personal injury attorney and let them deal with.


    That’s because at the end of a personal injury claim paying back the health insurance carrier has to be taken into account.



  2. More on Structured Products

    Structured products generally have some protection against loss plus a play on equities or fixed income.


    But – are structured products right for worried clients?



  3. More on life settlements

    A life settlement is the sale of a person’s life insurance policy to a third-party investor.

    In a life settlement, the policy’s owner transfers the ownership of that policy in exchange for an immediate cash payment from the buyer. Candidates for life settlements are typically 70 or older, with a life insurance policy that has a “face value” (death benefit) of more than $100,000.

    The third party buyer takes over the premium payments and receives the death benefit after the insured passes. In most cases, a senior who owns a policy that they no longer need or want will decide to sell it for a payout that is greater than the cash value.

    A life settlement can easily become an optimal option for seniors who cannot afford to maintain their insurance policies, but wish to receive the best financial outcome from it. Financial Advisors often overlook this as a possible source of income for financially troubled seniors, or for seniors whose policy’s original purpose is no longer relevant.

    Life settlements give the policyholder the option to sell the policy while also ridding themselves the burden of maintaining it. In many cases, seniors choose this option in order to enhance their standard of living, or put the money into more relevant investments.

    Not everyone is right for a life settlement, so check em’ out carefully.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: