What is a Special Needs Trust?
A Special Needs Trust is a specific type of trust used to maintain a beneficiary’s eligibility for government assistance benefits while at the same time preserving funds that can be used to supplement the beneficiary’s care. The public benefits most often needing to be maintained are Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, and public housing. The funds in the Special Needs Trust are intended to improve the beneficiary’s quality of life and may be used to pay for items not provided by the public benefits program.
A Special Needs Trust can be created by a parent or other family member for a child with special needs, included in a Will as a way to leave assets to a disabled relative, or established by an individual who becomes disabled as the result of an accident or medical malpractice in order to receive the proceeds of a personal injury award or settlement.