Elder Law Group Blog

What are Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trusts?

Dec 11, 2016 | News

Special or supplemental needs trusts are specifically designed to allow a disabled individual to receive financial support from his or her family, while still remaining eligible for critical government benefits. Many of these benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are based on financial need, as measured by one’s monthly income and assets. Depending on the situation, a special needs trust may be the only way to both provide the disabled individual with necessary financial support for quality of life and ensure that he or she receives necessary medical care.
For instance, a disabled person who receives SSI and Medicaid Long-Term Care can only have resources valued at up to $2,000, or the individual becomes financially ineligible for these government benefits. While assets such as cash, bank accounts, savings bonds, and real estate all count as resources, other assets are exempt, or do not count as resources. Exempt resources include the disabled individual’s home, vehicle (if used for transportation), burial plot, and items of personal property. An inheritance, however, is not an exempt asset. Therefore, if you are likely to predecease your loved one, you may want to provide for him or her, but you also may need to preserve his or eligibility for Medicaid. By placing assets in the special needs trust, you can preserve benefits eligibility and still provide for your loved one.
For couples facing Long-Term Care, a particular type of special needs trust is critical. It is called an Asset Protection Supplemental Needs Trust and in the State of Washington must be created by the deceased spouse’s Will. Without such a trust created by the Will, the surviving spouse will have NO asset protection.
There are different ways to create a special needs trust for a disabled person, and different methods of funding those trusts. The bottom line is if you or a third party wish to add funds to a special needs trust, the disabled person can use those supplemental funds to pay for items that fall outside of basic needs, such as food and housing, and basic medical care, which is what SSI covers.
If you have a child or loved one who is disabled in some way or has special needs, you should definitely contact an experienced Washington trust attorney at Elder Law Group PLLC today. This step can help you determine the best way to protect your loved one from a financial perspective, even after you are gone. We know how to protect your assets in a manner that will financially support your loved one in the future, as well as preserve any income or assets to which your loved one is entitled throughout his or her lifetime. Call Elder Law Group PLLC today and see what assistance we can offer you and your family.

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