A special needs trust or “supplemental needs trust” is a trust created for the benefit of a physically or mentally disabled individual. The purpose of such a trust is to provide an individual the ability to receive litigation settlement funds or inheritance funds without affecting their government benefits.
This type of estate planning, ensures that the recipient of a settlement award or inheritance has his or her benefit eligibility preserved and is not subject to unnecessary Medicaid payback provisions.
Example: Amber is a 39-year-old women involved in an automobile accident that left her paralyzed and with permanent brain damage. The lawsuit settlement provided that Amber was to receive $600,000.00 for damages. The settlement agreement was structured so that instead of being paid the money directly, it was put into a Special Needs Trust for Amber and allowed her to obtain Medicaid assistance.