Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust (SNT), sometimes also referred to as a Supplemental Needs Trust, can be established for a person who is already receiving Medicaid or SSI benefits or who may need benefits in the future. A properly drafted and administered SNT will enable the disabled person to maintain eligibility for public benefits, while benefiting from the funds placed in trust. The assets in the trust can be used to provide a higher quality of life for the trust beneficiary through the trustee's purchase of supplemental goods and services.
A SNT can be established for a disabled person by different people, depending on the circumstances. For instance, family members often create SNTs for disabled relatives as part of their estate planning. A SNT can also be established with the disabled person’s own funds or with the proceeds of a personal injury settlement. When a disabled person uses their own funds or personal injury settlement proceeds to establish a SNT, the trust is an exempt asset for public benefit eligibility purposes; however, at the beneficiary's death the Department of Medical Assistance will require payback for services rendered before any of the trust proceeds can be distributed to family members or others designated by the disabled person in the trust document.