WHAT IS A SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST?
The terms "Special Needs Trust", "Supplemental Needs Trust", and "Supplemental Care Trust" refer to a specific type of trust which allows a beneficiary to keep benefiting from his or her own assets, while still qualifying for, or maintaining eligibility for, a public benefits program. The public benefits most often needing to be maintained are Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps and public housing. The funds in a "Special Needs Trust" are intended to improve the quality of life for a beneficiary and may be used to pay for items not provided by the public benefits program.
There are several types of Special Needs Trusts, and SAFE assists beneficiaries and their families with all aspects of these trusts.
HOW CAN TRUST FUNDS BE USED? Trust funds can be used for anything that will benefit the beneficiary physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
Types of distributions that are acceptable:
- Attorney's fees
- Safe's fees
- Services of a care manager
- Stereo system, TV, movies
- Medical insurance
- Telephone and cellular phone
- Vacation and travel for the Beneficiary
- Travel expenses of relatives coming to visit
- Medical care such as alternative procedures or alternative medications
- Handicap vans
NOTE: IF A BENEFICIARY IS RECEIVEING SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI), CARE MUST BE TAKEN TO AVOID USE OF THE TRUST FUNDS FOR "SHELTER EXPENSES"
WHO CAN USE SPECIAL NEED TRUSTS?
Some trusts have limitations based on age (only people under age 65 can have an individual special needs trust, but individuals of any age can use a pooled special needs trust)
All beneficiaries must be disabled. Some may have mental or physical disabilities from a young age; others are disabled by their age or medical condition.