Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a specific type trust that will provide for an individual disabled beneficiary, while still allowing that beneficiary to receive important public benefits through Medicaid and Social Security. The beneficiary can maintain eligibility for needs-based government benefits, like Medicaid (AHCCCS and ALTCS) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because the disabled beneficiary does not technically own the assets in the trust.  However, all assets of the trust must always be used for the benefit of the beneficiary.

A separate Trustee will manage and control the trust assets.  The Trustee will have a legal obligation to make distributions of assets only for the benefit of the beneficiary.  Distributions from the Trust should supplement the beneficiary’s public benefits, not replace the benefits. For example, the Trust might pay for dental or medical expenses not covered by Medicare or Medicaid.  Or, the Trust might pay for entertainment items, such as passes to the museum and transportation costs.  The Trust might pay for housing costs above what is covered by Medicaid.  All distributions from the Trust should always be made with Medicaid and Social Security SSI rules in mind.

There are different types of special needs trust.  Depending on whose assets are being funded to the Trust (e.g., the individual with a disability, or assets of a family member), a specific type of special needs trust will be recommended by your special needs planning attorney.

If you or someone you know is concerned about the preserving public benefits for a loved one through the use of a special needs trust, call Bivens & Associates PLLC at (480) 922-1010 or email info@bivenslaw.com to schedule a consultation today.

-Megan E. Selvey, Esq.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as offering legal advice or creating an attorney client relationship between the reader and the firm or author. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this article without seeking appropriate legal advice about your individual facts and circumstances from an attorney licensed in your state. Bivens and Associates, P.L.L.C. expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all information contained in this article.