A Special Needs Trust is a trust created during your life-time or at your death (through your will). This trust is designed to provide for the needs of those with disabilities, in an effort to preserve their eligibility for needs-based benefits while providing for their supplemental needs.
The trustee can purchase “non-countable assets” for the beneficiary. This property is not considered to be a resource for purposes of determining eligibility for the SSID and Medicaid programs. These items could include:
Burial Plans – Irrevocable burial insurance policies are not counted as assets;
Life Insurance – Life insurance policies with cash surrender values less than $1,500 are not counted as assets;
A motor vehicle – The trustee can purchase a vehicle for the beneficiary regardless of the value, without affecting their SSID eligibility.
Personal Property – Whether the beneficiary has a house or lives in a group home, any personal property is exempt, including televisions, furniture, clothing, jewelry, etc;
Real Estate – The trustee can purchase the beneficiary a primary residence which does not disqualify them from receiving SSID; however, if the beneficiary only receives Medicaid, the value of the home will be limited.
Work Equipment – The trustee can purchase any items the beneficiary needs to run a business, either as an employee or as an owner. There are limits on the value of these items.
The trustee cannot give any funds directly to the beneficiary because it would affect their benefits. Instead the Trustee would purchase the services or assets for the beneficiary, provided the purchases do not violate the trust or the law. These services can include personal care attendants, education, recreation, funeral plans, vehicles, out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses, physical rehabilitation, medications not covered by benefits, personal residence, medical insurance, special dietary needs and even vacations.
If you need assistance creating one of these types of trusts, please contact Patricia Cole at 817-336-2400.